Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type

Closed Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English and Theatre

First Advisor

Derek Nikitas

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Second Advisor

Julie Hensley

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Third Advisor

Young Smith

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Abstract

Fragments of Joshua is a novel which explores the emotions of disillusionment and displacement ("fragmentation") within the general "nomadic" quality of modern life. The story of the protagonist, Joshua Celeste - loner, artist, traveler - is told by way of snippets from emails, letters, recordings, poems and reminiscences. In the end, Joshua becomes a sort of "exact" metaphor, in the way that the World Trade Center's literal fall was interpreted by some as the metaphoric "fall" of the American empire, when he becomes a "fragment" himself. Narrator Krip Kovacs tells the story by way of Josh's notebooks, letters to and from friends and family, and his own reflections. Krip also includes into the story the uncompleted autobiography of Josh's brother, Alfred " Doc" Celeste, which constitutes yet another "fragment" of his friend's life. Krip realizes that he alone is most capable of piecing together a "portrait" so to speak of Josh's life. He is motivated to do so by love for his friend, but also by a sense guilt: Krip believes that certain events point to his negligence in regard to their friendship. He decides to gather together all the "fragments"( letters, poems, emails, diary entries, funny stories, etc.) of this man's life that he can so that he can try to understand its "meaning". Along the way he explores the lives of those closest to Josh-- and his own.

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