Be Your Own Charlatan! is a collection of personal essays about the nature of violence, the intricacy of aspiration, and the labels we use to distinguish our identities and accomplishments. The essays explore how such labels can be limiting and frustrating while simultaneously useful for navigating what is expected of us. Essays such as "Hip Throw," "Fighting," and "Rolling: A Ladies' Guide to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu" use the lens of martial arts to examine femininity, the difference between perceived and actual violence, and the line between violence and sport. "White Homework" and "Couch Sitter" reflect upon ways of navigating the expectations of other people as well as self-invented parameters and limitations. "The Teacher Doesn't Jump in Front of the Bullet" and "Teacher Eavesdrops Thursday At the Diner" dissect the myth that teachers are selfless and patient nurturers. "I'm Not an Actor, But I Play One in This Essay," "Colorblind Casting," and "Anything and Everything" reflect upon life as a student, and how the enthusiasm expressed by various teachers can reshape long-held expectations and ideas about identity. Be Your Own Charlatan! tackles these ideas through humor that leads to introspection and introspection that unlocks the absurdity of the expectations we place on ourselves, those we meet, and the world around us.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Farmer, Melanie, "Be Your Own Charlatan!" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 43.