My Honors Thesis Project looks at the relationship between fantasy literature, real life trauma, and world-building. The scholarly portion of my thesis includes research that looks at the relationship through both literary and psychological perspectives. This research included looking at the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons, and how they both relate or have been used to cope with trauma. The works of Cathy Caruth and Bruno Bettelheim are used to look at the relationship from a psychological perspective with the introduction of trauma theory and its ties to literature. My project also looks at how this all relates to mine and my friends’ own traumatic experience and how I have used fantasy literature to help deal with said experiences by creating a fantasy world and narrative of my own called Nona. On top of all of this, my Honors Project also includes a compendium to the fantasy world I have created called “The Traveler’s Guide to Nona”. This compendium acts as the creative project side of my Honors Thesis Project, and includes looking at some of the basic aspects of world-building, including the history of the world, its theology, races, and cultures.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2020


Gerald Nachtwey

Mentor Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



English and Theatre