English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-20-2018

Abstract

The goal of this manuscript is to construct an essay collection representing the various essay styles I enjoy. The essays track the narrator from childhood to adulthood through various situations, while coalescing around the theme of how memory and experience of youth impact decisions and actions later in life. I show how memory is translated into action, how we choose to ignore/fight some memory and experience, but embrace others when it comes to important moments in our lives, such as confronting social issues, addressing insecurities as a parent, dealing with grief and loss, etc.

Several essays are connected by the thread of growing up in poverty with an estranged, alcoholic father, and how these memories influenced my approach to fatherhood. My father was mostly absent growing up, but the moments we were together were often defined by emotional abuse toward my mother, my siblings, and me. In addition to family issues, I delve into social justice themes, such as poverty, racism, and LGBTQ acceptance. Regardless of the subject, all essays dip back and forth between childhood and adulthood and contain memories and/or experiences reflected upon by the adult narrator. Even in the more research-based work, this reflection is present. In keeping with the thematic preoccupation of memory, I experiment with multiple forms of the essay; traditional, segmented, research-based, etc.

Degree Name

MFA Creative Writing

Level of Degree

Masters

Department Name

English

First Committee Member (Chair)

Greg Martin

Second Committee Member

Lisa Chavez

Third Committee Member

Daniel Mueller

Fourth Committee Member

Marisa P. Clark

Fifth Committee Member

Mark Sundeen

Keywords

memoir, nonfiction, creative writing, fatherhood, parenting, alcoholism

Document Type

Dissertation

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