Annie Dillard writes, in the prologue to her memoir An American Childhood, "When everything else is gone from my brain ... what will be left, I believe, is topology: the dreaming memory of land as it lay this way and that." Dillard's memoir proceeds, hitting close to home because it operates through detailed visual scenes that come alive on the page. Thus, the end result of the memoirist's work is a patching together of intricacies that when viewed from far away, become this "topology." In this thesis I piece together events that did not occur in linear order, but whose thematic similarities strive to function as a mosaic.
This collection exists in the context of the particular experience of a girl growing up and coming into womanhood in suburban, middle class America in the 1980s and 1990s. In her memoir Two or Three Things I know for Sure, Dorothy Allison makes the observation, "Women talk about sex in such strange ways - carefully, obliquely, cautiously, almost shamelessly." I wonder why this is true, and bear the thought in mind throughout these pages. In "The Neophyte," I explore the teenage girl's first love and falling into a sexuality she doesn't know what to do with, and in "The February Rule" I examine the adolescent girl 's first big crush, and the way she deals with her desire for a first kiss. Allison's memoir also includes discussion of the collectivist of women's stories and history. While these essays tell my own tale of growth into womanhood, I hope that the themes they convey are linked with this collective knowledge.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
English; Creative Writing
Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences; Short stories, English; Women's coming of age
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
DeBoer, Mandy, "Alphabet Soup" (2003). HIM 1990-2015. 354.