english, creative writing, short stories
Broken Open is a collection of short stories, four of which deal with culpability and the unexpected transformations that occur when blame, either unintended or deliberately invoked, is exposed and finally understood. The remaining two stories concern relationships that turn out to be gifts, as well as painful learning experiences. In "Other Living Creatures," one family contends with post traumatic stress disorder as another implodes following the death of a young soldier in Vietnam. "Hunters" deals with the unconscious motivations that leave a father resentful and unable to forge a relationship with his son. In "Bardenbrook," an accidental death is the impetus for blame and, finally, forgiveness. Rage acts as a catalyst in "The Summoning," the story of a lesbian couple's struggle to accept the reality of breast cancer shortly before one of the partners undertakes a transformative journey as her death approaches. The two remaining stories in Broken Open deal with the protagonists finding their voices. In "Sunday Wars," a girl begins to think for herself, and in "Beyond the Parking Lot," a woman comes to terms with the restraints, self-imposed and otherwise, that have held her captive for most of her life. Each character in Broken Open struggles, perseveres, grows and, ultimately, flourishes. Despite sorrow, pain, and unexpected loss, being broken open leads them, as it does us all, if we let it, to the richest places within.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Stannard, Taylor Kistler, "Broken Open" (2007). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3363.