fiction, short stories, coming of age
In this collection of short stories, the characters struggle to recover equilibrium in their lives that have been turned upside down. They struggle against one another, against change, and against the loss of loved ones. No matter what bonds hold the characters together, the underlying tension of change and reaction permeates their relationships and threatens what they know to be true. A theme of discontent runs in these stories. Something beneath the surface is not right, and the characters struggle to climb out of the mess their lives have become. Some of them have been stifled, like the narrator in "Resounding Gong, Clanging Cymbal," who's being pressured on all sides to marry. Some of them are toeing the line of fitting in and being independent, like the teenagers in "Hibiscus Boulevard," who, caught up in the last days of summer, are more concerned with being adults than being kids. In the title story, the teenagers in a small town find a way to memorialize one of their own by performing the act that caused him to die. The cautious bonds between the characters are continuously being worked by one another, by oppressive scenery and location, by the aftereffects of dysfunction, or by unrequited love. No matter what the context or situation, something is always just a little bit off, or wrong, in each story in this collection, and the characters must do their best to correct the situations.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Ryan, Jessica, "Crashing Against The Wood" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4073.