English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2023


This dissertation is a novel centered on themes of family dysfunction, the confluence of class and morality, generational and individual experiences of trauma, mental illness, the mental healthcare system, nature, hegemonic masculinity, collective guilt, love, death, suicide, and community. The author follows three main strands through the novel, centered on the three main characters: June Hamilton, Abram Groome, and Sarah Ham (née Katie Belle Hamilton); mother, father, and daughter, respectively. The connection and disconnection of these three characters, with the intervention of several others across the American South, form the work’s central conflict. Community, family, and forgiveness provide a source of healing and understanding for these three characters as they navigate the changing world around them. The preface describes the author’s experiences as they influence the work, including his own experiences with trauma and mental illness, while also explicating some of the literary works that impacted the novel’s genesis.

Degree Name

MFA Creative Writing

Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Daniel Mueller

Second Committee Member

Lisa Chavez

Third Committee Member

Marisa Clark

Fourth Committee Member

Finnie Coleman

Fifth Committee Member

Merle Collins

Document Type


Available for download on Saturday, August 01, 2122