Short Story, American Family, Conflict


Standing in the Shadows is a collection of short-stories that showcases the inner workings of the modern American family. Each of these six stories examines families, in one capacity or another, dealing with ups and downs, love and hatred, sadness and happiness, and everything in between. At the heart of these stories are the relationships between people, some affected by sadness and tragedy, others torn apart by secrets, all trying to cope and exist in a world full of conflict and difficulties. The characters in this selection deal with shortcomings--shortcomings of others and of themselves--while forced to overcome obstacles in order to find truth, meaning, and understanding within their lives. "River Jumping" and "All the Wrong Ways to Say I Love You" involve protagonists trying to come to terms with their current situations in life while attempting to rectify the mistakes of their pasts. "Standing in the Shadows" discusses the secrets that father's keep, and the adverse affect it can have on their children. "Stolen Summer" examines how tragedy can affect the inner workings of family and also the relationship between two friends. The story is an example of how sadness is an all consuming organism that, if not faced head on, can forever alter the futures of those involved. "Pastime" deals with the relationship between fathers and sons and how the love and desire a father has for his son impacts their relationship in negative ways. Finally, "Glass Onion" completes the collection detailing the story of a woman who is so frustrated with her current disposition that she can no longer take it. As the years have passed and routines are formed, Tabby struggles to maintain her identity, her desire for life, and ultimately, her sanity. In each of these stories, families are forced to deal with issues that ultimately define the characters as individuals. Whether it's a lack of communication or they are haunted by the sins of the past, these characters struggle to overcome obstacles that in the end will provide insight into who they are and where they are going.


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Graduation Date



Rushin, Pat


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program

Creative Writing








Release Date

June 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)