Publication Date

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


John Engell

Subject Areas

American literature


My novel is about Toby Walter's choice to desert the life she knows and live in a place filled with death and disintegration. Her motives stem from several events and changes that occur in her life, including her mother's experience with breast cancer, her friend's death, her father's death, her dog's death, and her mother's relationship with another man after her father has died. The writing of this thesis involved trying to understand this character and why she leads the life she does. The more I worked on this story, the more Toby's motives began to surface. I want this novel to speak a kind of truth about the way in which this character lives. She learns that she cannot fully escape her past. This is one truth I felt important to touch upon in my novel--the difficult, ongoing struggle to "move on" from certain obstacles that occur in life. The choices I have made in presenting this story reflect both novels that have influenced my writing and ideas about writing held by authors I admire.