Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Mary Carroll-Hackett, M.F.A.

Second Advisor

Brett Hursey, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Susan Stinson, M.F.A.


The purpose of this thesis is to conduct an exploration of masculinity through the creation of fictional voices and use of dramatic structures. The five pieces of dramatic writing which make up my thesis, four plays and one screenplay, collectively entitled "What He Had Never Done Before and Other Plays," have proven to be an examination of masculinity through personal relationships, primarily the roles of brothers and husbands. These relationships focus on the guilt associated with perceived masculine behavior, the often wrong decisions boys make to feel more like men, the often violent or dishonest behavior. The plays explore the moments when that guilt weighs too heavily, leaving men to struggle for redemption. My characters arc often working­ class men, and their actions and decisions arc deliberate and unapologetic; the incorporation or these traits is my attempt to make my plays, what Arthur Miller called, tragedies of the common man. What I strive for in my writing is to capture the complexities of brotherhood, the speech or masculinity, and moments of redemption. At the end of my title play, Larry and Fielding embody these three goals when they find a connection through their guilt. Fielding tells Larry he has never admitted to feeling guilty about his brother's suicide to anyone else, and Larry says, "You should tell your other brothers. I bet they feel just as guilty." With my thesis, I hope to understand that guilt which holds me hostage in the middle of the night, forcing me to question the decisions I have made on my journey to becoming a man.



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