Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Dustin M. Hoffman

Committee Member

Dr. Siobhan Brownson

Committee Member

Dr. John Bird


Fiction, Unlikable characters, Craft, Tea-Cup Tragedy, Realism


In my story collection, People Sitting in the Dark: Stories, I explore the ever troubling theme of how to cope with loss, and occasionally, how to cope with not losing when one is so accustomed to it. Though some of my stories are connected with reappearing characters, they are not all written in such a way. Characters in the background of one story may be given the narration of one later in the story, thus changing how the reader views the character through difference perspectives. I wanted to explore how point of view can drastically change the sympathy and empathy readers have for characters, and how this change can cause the reader to feel uncomfortable. The uncomfortableness resulting from the realization that everyone, characters in fiction and people in real life, all have warts, and we all have bad things about us. These characters are human beings, and creating flawed, gross, and gritty characters that reflect reality cause the readers to question themselves, and to question those around them they’ve improperly judged or thought of. Through exploring my unlikable characters and characters that have experienced loss, and how they react, I’ve explored what happiness in the human experience truly brings out in fiction, and how it can reflect the reality we all inhabit.

Included in

Fiction Commons