Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

English, MA

Committee Chair

Griner, Paul

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Stansel, Ian

Committee Member

Stansel, Ian

Committee Member

Gibson, John

Author's Keywords

fiction; short stories


My creative thesis consists of a number of short stories. Each individual story stands alone, though all pieces in the project are doubtless connected by setting and syntax. Perhaps due to my own lack of imagination the stories take place, at least to some extent, in a small town. Though this may not be made explicit in every story, it can be deduced. Small town life, and particularly small town folk, are of interest to me; they are also what I know best. For example, Tom of “Neighbors” is a man living in a small town. The old man next door, Ron, has died and a new family has moved in. This unsettles Tom, a man who has served in Vietnam and carries invisible scars, and he does not leave his house until he has learned the new family’s routine and can do so while they are away. Later in the story we learn that Tom is known by the locals as “Walking Tom.” This demonstrates the contradictory nature of living in a place where everyone knows you. On one end, just as Ron had helped Tom for years, the sales associates at the Ben Franklin he frequents know Tom and can help him get what he needs for his project. On the other, he is a spectacle; people know of him and watch for him. The complication that arises out of this connectedness is a theme throughout my work.