Date of Award
Master of Arts
Steven Faulkner, Ph.D
Chene Heady, Ph.D.
Gordon Van Ness, Ph.D.
The purpose of this thesis is the exploration of influential personal events through creative nonfiction which remains thematically centered on the four traditional elements of earth, air, fire, and water. In the four essays serving as my thesis, collectively entitled "Elements of Living," I reflect on personal experiences which have bad significant impact on my life and philosophical outlook, and assign an element to each.
The topics covered in each essay vary, and some take historical information into consideration. Although the history that is covered does serve an important metaphorical purpose in the essays, reading straight historical data can be quite dry and lose the interest of some readers. In order to make the information more palatable, I have looked to the work of Douglas Adams and his incorporation of relevant, complex scientific information into nonfiction travel narrative as a model to integrate personal information with non-personal, but relevant, factual information. The work of Mary Karr and her use of description has served as a model to provide realism in the narrative setting of present and past events, and both authors have been primary guides on the incorporation of mental consideration and interpretation with recollection of direct action and events. In order to balance my informal Southern voice with the higher, more intellectual-sounding historical information, I have looked to Frederick Douglass, who "wrote from sound," using this integration of natural speaking voice into his written narratives in order to give an authenticity to his recollections.
Each essay uses its assigned element as a platform for deeper rumination and understanding of personal events and challenges, and each element serves as a link between the two.
Steele, Dan, "ELEMENTS OF LIVING" (2013). Theses & Honors Papers. 55.