Title

Grave Desires

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Closed Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English and Theatre

First Advisor

R. Dean Johnson

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Second Advisor

Young Smith

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Third Advisor

Carter Sickels

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Abstract

For my thesis, I am submitting collection of short stories called Grave Desires that could be categorized as speculative fiction containing supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements. More specifically, each story falls under the genre of fantasy, magic realism, or science fiction. The stories are thematically linked by the discontent felt by the protagonists, and their desires for change that produce unexpected consequences.

There are eight stories in my collection: “Blood for Breakfast,” “Boognoog,” “Demon,” “My Boyfriend is Such a Loser,” “Whitewashed,” “Disappear,” “Ten Seconds,” and “Papercut.” The collection begins with the story “Blood for Breakfast.” It is set up on the form of an interview, and it introduces the realm of the unknown by loosely implying the protagonist may have been a vampire. It’s a bit gory and somewhat graphic, alerting the reader to be prepared for what may appear in the other stories. From vampirism, the reader is then taken to the fantastical world of “Boognoog” where trolls really do exist. In this story, Boognoog decides he doesn’t want to be a troll anymore and finds a peculiar alternative. Next is “Demon,” also set in a fantastical world where magic is the norm. Casha is a girl whose only desire is to have a demon of her own.

From the world of demons, the reader then travels to a world much like his or her own in “My Boyfriend is Such a Loser,” where ghosts roam freely if they do not pass on. In this story, the reader meets Lucy, a ghost whose only desire is to find the boyfriend that killed her. “Whitewashed” is set in a futuristic world that is also similar to the reader’s. Seymour is reflective of a world where humanity has been replaced by technology. After losing his home and his job, Seymour’s only wish is to not become obsolete. Krista, the protagonist in “Disappear,” desires the exact opposite of Seymour—that she could just disappear.

“Ten Seconds” pulls the reader in a slightly different direction, leaning more heavily towards magical realism, where Rosa becomes consumed by depression. Wrapping up the collection is “Papercut,” which is perhaps my favorite story. The protagonist of this story is the portrait of a woman, Clarice, who is a mood painting. She possesses the thoughts and emotions of a human, and even though she lives in the world of paintings she is conscious of her human environment. As time goes on Clarice finds that she, much like Seymour, has become obsolete.

The intention in writing these stories was to create probable and plausible characters, despite the fact that their worlds are surrounded by fantastical elements. It is hoped that the reader will connect with each character on a personal basis, and can relate to the desires each character has. It is also hoped that the reader will enjoy the endings and consider them not as negative consequences but instead as interesting outcomes, appropriate within the context of the worlds and this collection.

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