Bitter Relish

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Closed Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Theatre

First Advisor

Derek Nikitas

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Second Advisor

Nancy Jensen

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Third Advisor

Julie Hensley

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre


This is a thematically linked collection of short stories that involves strange romance with unlikely pairings: gaps in age, health, and class; estrangement in occupation, beliefs, and physicality; even a human's obsession with an object. Each story contains a scene that zooms in on food. There is reoccurrence of misplaced feelings that are mistaken for love or admiration. The plots range from life crushing experiences to simply a fleeting thought. It is intended to parallel the volatility of strong emotions and the temperament of human nature. For instance: the envy of youth, attraction to immorality, need for melodrama, disinterest when feelings are reciprocated, and the glamour of lust. The protagonists usually become aware of these trivial motivations, usually followed by the collapse of a particular feeling that perhaps never really existed, a take on paralysis.

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