English Language and Literature ETDs


Linda Rickert

Publication Date



The essays held in this collection when viewed as a whole illustrate the destructive repetitive acts of four generations of addiction and how these acts influenced each coming generation. They also demonstrate the inability to see events clearly when in the middle of turmoil. Through the use of reflection and recollection each piece links to the others to form a progressive pattern from which family members seem unable to escape. Whether it is the power of genetics or the sway of nurture or the lack of it, the pattern suggests an inability to break the negative cycle even when the desire to do so reaches its strongest point. There is the suggestion of growth, however, threaded throughout the body of the work. This puts forward that change can be achieved and puts forward the proposal that change must be deliberate as well as earned. A sense of place vibrates throughout this collection. The coal mining area of central Pennsylvania breeds a populace of hardened citizens, people used to harsh conditions, poverty, and rage. These people continue to survive because they know nothing about giving up. Characterization may be one of this works strongest points. In addition, moments of learning, maturity, and difficult decisions reach out to touch others universally. Moments such as a father accepting his daughter's single motherhood in the sixties, of a daughter losing her animosity toward her mother when she realizes that we do what we must to survive, and the decision to stop life-saving treatment for a profoundly mentally challenged son touches lives every day. Methods of coping give the reader support and the courage to cope.'

Degree Name

MFA Creative Writing

Level of Degree


Department Name


First Advisor

Warner, Sharon

First Committee Member (Chair)

Martin, Greg

Second Committee Member

Theil, Diane

Third Committee Member

Gutwein, Dr. Geraldine




Pennsylvania, Essay--Authorship, American essays--21st century

Document Type


Available for download on Thursday, July 31, 2110