• Making Confessions: The Confessional Voice Found Among Literary Genres

      Harrod, Mary Beth; The College at Brockport (2007-05-12)
      This graduate thesis will explore the term "confessional" and its application to literature. The term "confessional" varies; confessional writing can take different forms in different genres. In this thesis, works by contemporary authors of personal lyric poetry, memoir, and fiction are discussed and an investigation of confessional writing within their work is undertaken. While not all authors use a direct confessional voice, the overall effect of their writing creates an intimate space between the writer and reader. A sense of self-reflection on the part of the author gives a confessional feel to his or her work. While the lines of literary conventions separate genres, confessional writing tends to blur those lines by bringing the message of the work to the forefront. A piece of literature said to be of a particular genre is challenged when one discovers a confessional voice, as it weaves itself among genres and changes the face of the genre itself. While the confessional voice may be less pronounced in fiction, when we think we hear it speaking, albeit unconsciously on the part of the writer, the same effect takes place: writer and reader become engaged in a communicative relationship that reveals secrets of the heart. In exploring personal lyric poetry and memoir of Gregory Orr, personal lyric poetry of Linda Gregerson and Frank Bidart, short stories and essays by Susan Sontag, and finally, the short stories, essays, and letters of Flannery O'Connor, confessional writing proves to be ambiguous in meaning and difficult to define; nevertheless, each author uniquely incorporates varying degrees of confessionalism to achieve a sense of intimacy that is not a result of the genre they are working in, but in how they say what they do within the genre they have chosen to write in.
    • Man Hours: The Construction of a Poet

      Gardner, Kevin; The College at Brockport (2010-10-04)
      Man Hours : the Construction of a Poet is a collection of Kevin Gardner's work designed to display the creative tools acquired in pursuit of a Master's Degree in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing, at SUNY Brockport. This thesis attempts to take a close look at Gardner's work in an effort to showcase these skills. As a more seasoned student of writing, significant and extensive life experience plays a key role in this collection. Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, along with years of working in the construction industry, has influenced this collection in ways that supplement elements learned in the classroom. It is also the author's attempt to examine and present these influences in a way that shows the blending of life experience and higher education to create poetry that has meaning while appealing to a broad audience.
    • Man's Search for Freedom: A Continuing Theme in the Poetry of William Wordsworth and Robert Frost

      Maier, Anne C.; The College at Brockport (1982-01-01)
      As man searches for personal freedom he is confronted with limitations which not only complicate his quest, but remind him of his fragile human condition. The more he struggles with these limitations the more he questions the reality of ultimate freedom. In the following thesis selected poems of William Wordsworth and Robert Frost are used to define man's limitations and illustrate the various ways man attempts to overcome them. The first chapter explores some of the ways man limits his own personal growth. An individual's fear, indecision, and lack of creativity, for example, often prevent him from moving forward in the direction of freedom. This discussion leads to the matter of how man is limited by other men, both in the problems created by personal relationships and society as a whole. The third and fourth chapters present those limitations which are imposed on man by the greater forces of Nature, Time, and Space. Man's inability to overcome the power of Nature, to control the passing of time, and to fully understand the complexities of the universe, force him to submit to his limited state of existence. Robert Frost suggests a philosophy of simple acceptance. Once man realizes his limitations and learns to live with them, he will find happiness, peace, and a satisfying sense of freedom. Delving too deeply into the mysteries of life is a futile exercise, resulting in frustration and confusion. William Wordsworth, on the other hand, puts faith in the power of the imagination as the key to freedom. Once the imagination is discovered and developed by the guiding hand of Nature, man is no longer a limited being. His imagination provides him the freedom· to view the world creatively and attain joy and peace in his earthly life. Placing the works of two poets of two completely different literary periods side by side, supports the idea that man continually contemplates his limited existence. Furthermore, each poet offers the hope that man can indeed live happily despite his limitations.
    • Mayberry Days

      Reed-Mullen, KaTrina; The College at Brockport (2008-11-06)
      This memoir consists of a series of short vignettes, each of which is a standalone story. These vignettes tell about the writer's childhood: the experience of growing up in the Deep South in the 1960s and 70s.
    • Moral Absolutism in Arthur Miller's The Crucible

      Rodgers, Jennifer; The College at Brockport (2010-04-28)
      The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, explores several complex and trans-historic topics, many of which relate to the playwright's experiences during the McCarthy era. Miller asks his audience to value independent and personal truths, which he defines as more morally right and good than social truths. This is because, in the playwright's mind, social truths are often manipulated and exploited to gain a desired personal result regardless of how they affect other's lives. In order to illuminate this point, he repeatedly plays with the concepts of truth and lies, confession and accusation, as well as public and private knowledge. Although Miller represents each as opposites, they are not necessarily contradictory, nor are they fixed absolutes. I will argue that truth cannot be an absolute concept and that the society and its individual members must somehow reconcile the fact that they are linked, one with the other. Communal and individual definitions of concepts such as truth and lies, good and bad, public and private, and controversial acts, such as confession and accusation, are not necessarily binary opposites. To classify them as such is to underestimate the role that they play in The Crucible.
    • Night Traveler and Other Works

      Iuppa, M.J.; The College at Brockport (2000-05-01)
      This thesis project centers itself in a discussion of the poetic form. Using the metaphor, poetry as landscape, the author states that poets establish common ground with the reader and allow readers “access to the poet’s exterior and interior views” through the use of this poetic convention. The project offers further examination of several poets’ work, in close analysis, which springboard consideration and definition of the elements of poetry with special attention to imagery. In particular, the project’s analysis of Collins’ personal landscape and Glück’s spiritual landscape in their poetry expands the conversation on the use of “imagery, metaphor, and statement” within this art form. The concluding discussion of the thesis also looks at the concepts of self-awareness, transformation, and authenticity as desired results of poetry’s impact on individuals and society. The remaining sections of the thesis collection offer original poetry, creative essays, and a play, This Heat. A brief introduction and analysis of the original poetry collection, Night Traveler, is included in the project.
    • Nihilism in Melville’s Moby Dick

      Barnum, John E.; The College at Brockport (1972-01-01)
      This thesis project positions itself as a close examination of Herman Melville's novel, Moby Dick, as a fictional statement of the author's nihilistic view of man and his world. The paper argues that Melville's nihilism derives primarily from his belief that man's perception of himself and the world is relativistic. Definitions of nihilism and the era in which Melville authored the novel, a time when traditional values and belief systems were being questioned and discarded, are explored. The project labels Melville as a “philosophical” novelist in his treatment of the character of Ahab, in particular, as the nihilistic aspects of the character are revealed in this classic work of literature. In addition, the project also examines the contrasting "healthy" nihilism as exhibited in the novel by Ishmael.
    • Notes from an Un-hyphenated American

      Flores-Salvaggio, Cacilda; The College at Brockport (2004-12-18)
      The introduction to this thesis project discusses the idea of poetic prose as a literary device to draw in the reader and create a sense of closeness within creative non-fiction, memoir specifically. Several noted memoirists’ work is also discussed under a close reading lens examining their particular style of creating non-fiction prose. The use of punctuation to control pace in writing and the idea of the hyphen as a means to mirror the author’s “hyphenated” identity is maintained throughout the creative chapters that follow. The project concludes with several chapters composing the author’s original memoir which explores the idea and reality of the immigration experience in this “coming-to-America” tale.
    • Ochreville

      Cotsonas, Thomas G.; The College at Brockport (2006-05-01)
      Ochreville is a cycle of stories set in one quarter-mile stretch of road in a small town in Upstate New York. Each story represents a different time in the neighborhood's history, starting with the clearing of the land in the late 1960's and progressing up to the present day when almost all the woods and fields have been destroyed. The stories deal primarily with the paralyzing effects of conformity in a suburban American setting.
    • Open Endings and Questionable Liberation in Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, Cat 's Eye, and The Handmaid's Tale

      Klick, Donna M.; The College at Brockport (2003-08-08)
      This thesis project discusses the literary work of Margaret Atwood, specifically highlighting Alias Grace (1996), Cat's Eye (1989), and The Handmaid's Tale (1986). As part of the discussion, the project considers Michel Foucault's theories on how power and discourse shape the individual and Sigmund Freud's work on how repetition aids an individual in obtaining power, and argues that Atwood’s female protagonists are not only shaped by their imagined environments but are liberated from the oppression within them. Given the focus on female protagonists and how they may liberate themselves, the research also considers Peter Brooks' work with regard to open-ended narratives in order to assess if these protagonists realize their quest for liberation. The study is broken into five chapters, dedicating separate chapters to the discussion of each novel noted above, with both introductory framework and conclusions at the close of the project. The conclusive comments draw attention to the author’s intent to challenge the reader to understand the societal commentary infused in the literature and to think about the question, “What if?”
    • Orson Scott Card: Without Joseph Smith and Mormonism There Would Be No Seventh Son, No Red Prophet, No Alvin Maker

      Porschet, Alma Jean; The College at Brockport (1994-01-01)
      This thesis project examines the idea of religious belief as an integral part of Orson Scott Card’s science fiction and fantasy novels, the Tales of Alvin Maker specifically. Similar to the work of C.S. Lewis, often viewed as literature through which the author reveals Christian doctrine, beliefs, and iconic images, this thesis project examines the fantastical literary work of Card as he articulates Mormon history, tradition and doctrine in an “other-world setting,” with a primary focus on Mormonism's mystical and archetypal aspects.
    • Out of Many

      Campbell, Allora; The College at Brockport (2013-01-28)
      Out of Many is a thesis collection which examines the themes of family and farm life. As the oldest of ten children, a homeschool graduate, and a farm girl, the intricacies of familial relations, in addition to the bonds to animals and the land itself, all played a vital role in my formation as a writer. Out of Many is a reflection of those influences and consists of a critical introduction and two short works of fiction, "Chasing Kathleen" and "Anna's Dog." The "Critical Introduction" offers an explanation of my literary influences and the stylistic choices which shape each story. The stories themselves, although fictional, are based extensively upon actual events and concentrate upon the relationships between two sets of sisters. "Chasing Kathleen's" narrator, Kim, struggles with an impending separation from her younger sister, Kathleen, as Kathleen prepares to leave for college and Kim remains to work on her family's farm. "Anna's Dog," through the eyes of Bernadette 'Benji' Barton, depicts a strained relationship between Benji and her distant older sister, Anna, when Anna decides to bring home a dog without parental approval.
    • Passive Spectacles and Resilient Heroines: Examining the Female Gaze in Cinematic Adaptations of The Scarlet Letter, The Last of the Mohicans, and Little Women

      Cassidy, Megan E.; The College at Brockport (2006-05-01)
      In her 1975 article, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," Laura Mulvey writes, "Unchallenged, mainstream film coded the erotic into the language of the dominant patriarchal order" (60). She argues that in film, this patriarchal language produces images of women who are displayed for the erotic enjoyment of male spectators, playing out male subconscious erotic fantasies on screen. Using Mulvey's articles as a theoretical framework, I look for evidence of the active female gaze in the cinematic adaptations of 1he Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850, The Last of the Mohicans written by James Fenimore Cooper in 1826 and Little Women written by Louisa May Alcott in 1868. For each chapter of my thesis, I examine a pair of adaptations beginning with the 1934 and 1995 versions of the Scarlet Letter, followed by the 1936 and 1992 versions of The Last of the Mohicans, and concluding with the 1933 and 1994 versions of Little Women. Each of the earlier films from the 1930s is encoded in this patriarchal structure to some degree. Mulvey's essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" was published in 1975. While her theories on patriarchal encryption can be seen in the films from the 1930s, advances in areas such as equal rights, political correctness, and affirmative action have influenced the filmmakers of the later 1990s films. Due to the changes in the political atmosphere, each of the three films from the 1990s demonstrate a greater awareness of the female audience and struggle to allow women to have a strong gaze.
    • Performative National Cultures: Hybridity, Blurred Boundaries, and Agency in Untouchable and Brick Lane

      McMonagle, Abby A.; The College at Brockport (2010-04-21)
      Monica Ali's Brick Lane and Mulk Raj Anand's Untouchable unite through the complex examination of nation and culture that they both perform. By utilizing post-colonial and cultural theories, as well as Judith Bulter's notion of performativity, it is possible to thoroughly study Ali and Anand's portrayal of national culture through their characters and writing. Since these novels focus on characters that experience immigration to Britain or colonization by the British, Ali and Anand employ the opportunities provided by such experiences, which include immigrant and colonized characters that" change their collection of cultural practices and then are contrasted with other characters in similar positions, to emphasize the hybrid national cultures of their characters and novels. These characters' national cultures are revealed to be performative as they make passionate attachments to identification categories, perform the normative practices mechanically, and desire the privileged national culture's attributes, but are still able to rearticulate their national cultural identity within the preexisting signification system. Thus, Ali and Anand highlight the performative construction of national culture by drawing attention to the performances of the hybrid national cultural identities that they portray in and through their novels. These insights that are gained from the juxtaposition of Ali and Anand's writing also trace what has or has not changed about the function of national culture and how the definition of "Britishness" has evolved to expose that this category is in constant flux.
    • Pharisees and False Apostles: Lollardy and Antifraternlism in Fragment III of the Canterbury Tales

      Peet, Donald; The College at Brockport (2007-06-05)
      In 1986, Penn R Szittya finished his groundbreaking composition, The Antifraternal Tradition in Medieval Literature, thus becoming the leading antifraternal writer in Chaucerian scholarship. Prior to Szittya's novel, very few scholars concerned themselves with the nature of antifraternalism in the Canterbury Tales. Of the critics who wrote on the subject, many could be grouped into two categories, those who felt that the Tales were littered with antifraternalist ideas and those who disputed the presence of antifraternalism. Even today, after the wake of Szittya's Antifraternal Tradition, critics still fall into the same camps. To the best of my knowledge, none of these critics has dealt with all of Fragment III. They have chosen, rather, to deal only with The Friar's and The Summoner's Tales, failing to take into consideration who drives them into the feud-The Wife of Bath. Looking at Fragment III through an antifraternal lens brings a new aspect into the analysis of the Canterbury Tales. We no longer see, as Szittya states, "a convention of the pairing in the poetry of fraternal controversies," but a triplet embedded in religious controversy (197). By focusing on The Wife of Bath as a Lollard and discussing how she is able to further the antifraternal debate between the Summoner and the Friar, we can begin to understand why each of these characters intrude upon the Wife's tale. The explanation that I give is that Alisoun, as a Lollard, gives a Lollard sermon on celibacy in hopes of drawing the Friar into rebuking her tale.
    • Pity Those Who Live Without Love: The Function of Love in Harry Potter

      Creighton, Jolene E.; The College at Brockport (2011-04-07)
      J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels are extraordinarily popular; readers zealously respond to these texts with unprecedented adoration and dedication. Generally, critics attempt to explicate the popularity of Harry Potter in one of two ways: through an examination of either Rowling’s literary artistry, or an analysis of the relentless marketing of the culture industry. Coupled together, the aforementioned analyses sufficiently explain the initial success of Rowling’s series. However, the only way to understand the unflagging popularity of Harry Potter is to elucidate the emotional adoration that these texts inspire in readers. This can be accomplished by explicating the primary theme of this series and then rationalizing the way that readers typically react to the connotative meaning of this theme. Subsequently, the conclusions that are drawn from this line of reasoning can be reinforced by juxtaposing the primary theme of Harry Potter with the themes that generally surface in Harry Potter fan fiction. Throughout this series, Rowling’s heroic protagonists are characterized as figures who are capable of altruistic affection. Conversely, her antagonists are ambitious figures who neither practice nor experience selfless love. This antithesis demonstrates that love is the primary point of contention and the principle theme in Harry Potter. It is possible to definitely prove that readers are responding to the theme of love in Harry Potter by examining the way that love functions in the fan fiction surrounding this series. The themes presented in fan literature reinforce and champion the fundamental meaning of Rowling’s novels. As a result, an examination of Harry Potter fan fiction indicates that readers are attracted to Rowling’s portrayal of love. Consequently, it is this theme which inspires the readers’ adoration and thus the series overwhelming popularity.
    • Poe's Guinea Pigs: Narrators and Perversity in Selected Tales

      Stroud, Matthew C.; The College at Brockport (2004-02-11)
      Many scholars and critics make the mistake of closely linking Poe with his narrators, some going so far as to say that Poe's tales are autobiographical, at least in part. While it may be said that certain of Poe's writings seem to reflect particular aspects of his life, a purely autobiographical reading falls short of any real understanding of Poe's stories. Examining five of Poe's writings-The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, "The Tell Tale Heart," "The Black Cat," "The Imp of the Perverse," and "The Cask of Amontillado"-in the order in which they were written reveals a pattern of thought developed through the selected tales as if they are a series. This pattern reveals that Poe is not connected to his narrators but is instead an observer; learning from their actions and recording for his readers what knowledge he is able to glean pertaining to the issue of perversity. Before delving into this reading, an examination of several critical viewpoints is offered. Each is broken down and individual strengths and weaknesses of each reading are offered as they relate to the reading being put forth. Upon completion of the review of literature, each of the five tales is closely examined, and the distinction between Poe and the narrator made clear. Additionally, the progression of thought through the tales in the series is demonstrated and it is shown how Poe seeks answers to certain questions, how those questions are answered by each of the tales, and what Poe does with these answers. In the first two, perversity is seen ,but undefined. In the third, it is defined but never fully explained or understood. In the fourth, it is explained in detail but never controlled. In the fifth it is knowingly used by the final narrator-guinea pig-in Poe's series of experiments.
    • Postmodern Historical Fiction: Aspects in Three Writers (Doctorow, Reed, and Boyle)

      Henry, Matthew A.; The College at Brockport (1992-01-01)
      The contents of this thesis include: Characteristics of postmodernism -- Approaching postmodern historical narratives -- E.L. Doctorow and Billy Bathgate -- Ishmael Reed and Flight to Canada -- T. Coraghessan Boyle and Water music.
    • Postmodernism in the Contemporary Novel : Non-linear and Dyssynchronous Elements in the Narratives of The White Hotel, The Golden Notebook, and The French Lieutenant's Woman

      McElroy, Thomas F.; The College at Brockport (2001-09-04)
      This paper seeks to examine theoretical aspects of the narrative by exploring the elements of time and structure that constitute selected novels of D.M. Thomas, Doris Lessing, and John Fowles. Specifically, this paper will explore the spatiotemporal aspects of the narrative, including the impact of chronological arrangement and structural organization on the formation of meaning. The novels examined in this paper-The White Hotel, The French Lieutenant's Woman, and The Golden Notebook- challenge assumptions about the interpretation of narrative and the validity of the novel as commentary on the human condition. Each seeks new ways of narration and new ways to challenge form and tradition. Because these types of confrontation are consistent with a postmodern aesthetic, this paper will examine the theories of such postmodern thinkers as Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, and Jean Baudrillard. Doing so will provide background for its exploration into such issues as the use of pastiche by postmodern authors, the presentation of fragmented narratives, the confusion of narrative voice, and the overall challenge to authority that is a defining aspect of postmodernism. The overall purpose of this paper is to consider whether or not the disordered temporality, fragmented structure, confused narration, and oppositional stance of the postmodernism novel signals an abrogation of fictional narrative as a fundamental human activity and need.
    • Proof: A Collection

      Alers, Amanda K.; The College at Brockport (2015-05-21)
      In my thesis, Proof, I have included a critical introduction exploring my development as a writer and the people and classes and life events that have shaped my writing thus far. Also, I have included three short stories, "The Lombard," "Proof' and "Persephone." In these stories, I have attempted to write modern works using some of the classic tropes of American Gothic literature. The most prominent of these tropes perhaps are the perverse and the "return of the repressed." "The Lombard" explores suspense, the sentience of non-living things, particularly an old building, perversity, the return of the repressed, the creation of an overall mood, and an overall questioning of reason. "Proof' explores a more dialogue-driven narrative, and while it does contain perversity and repression, it is slightly more influenced by the absurdist writers of the mid-twentieth century in that it carries an overall air of futility, and thus, it, in its own way, also questions reason. Finally, "Persephone," examines the ways in which addiction, emotional or substance based, erode reason and overcome it. While "Persephone" still highlights the perverse and the "return of the repressed," its primary focus is the effects of these tropes upon reason.