Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Mary Carroll-Hackett, M.F.A.

Second Advisor

Steven Faulkner, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

David Magill, Ph.D.


The purpose of this thesis is to observe hidden female lives. It is my intention, within these fifteen works of short fiction, to examine the nature of those who seek power and protection through the artifice that is physical beauty, youth, and glamour, specifically through the wearing of makeup and glamorous clothing. Many of the women within these stories are also consumed with material wealth; they use that artifice as a shield from the reality of the enviro1m1ent in which they live, whether it is urban or rural. Sometimes they never even realize to what degree artificiality impacts their daily lives. In "Silk Powder," Jerry eats the cosmetic powder belonging to her lover, Margo. In "A Clown A Day," Pauline finds sexual satisfaction and compatibility with a man dressed as a clown. The Night Entertainment is a collection about people generally regarded as misfits. 1 write primarily female characters, many of whom are lesbian or bisexual. One of my overarching questions is why so many women hide their true selves behind masks. Issues dealing with sexuality are also addressed in these stories. I have been inspired by people living within novels and short stories: they have been some of my dearest friends and have kept me company throughout my life. One of my struggles in Writing this collection has been creating characters who could fall into behavior that may be considered by some as stereotypical. It is my goal to have written real people, and not merely archetypes: I write fragile women who are searching for strength and women who do not realize their own power. Writers who have encouraged me have been as varied and diverse as Jackie Collins and Flannery O'Co1mor. Collins' decadent, fabulous bitches and O'Connor's recognition of the freaks - which I say with love and not contempt - and not judging them, but treating them with dignity and humanity has been an inspiration. Fran Lebowitz sees people as they really are in her nonfiction essays and Terry Southem's dark humor and deviance is always exciting. William Faulkner's highly rhetorical sentences are some that I attempt to model mine after and the glamour, tenderness, and vulnerability of Truman Capote's fiction has greatly influenced my own characters and sense of storytelling. The dramas of Tennessee Williams are hugely influential: there is sensitivity, beauty and eccentricity to spare. Pedro Almod6var's stories of gay life and his inclusion of misfit characters is something that is evident in my work, as are the characters of Martin Scorsese: he is never afraid to tell the truth.



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