Date of Award

1-1-2009

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

Department

English

First Advisor

Benedict, Pinckney

Abstract

This thesis is a collection of six short stories and a novella. These works follow sons, fathers, loners, and families as they must confront what haunts them. In "Brainbarn," a boy whose parents left him at a young age tries to rid himself of the memory of killing a horse by forcing himself on his cousin. In "Scavengers," a father guides his family of disparate parts on a hike in attempt to bring them together, but he instead comes face to face with what he actually wants his family to be like. In "Haruspices," shepherds disrupt an ancient burial practice with dire consequences. "Cenotaph" is about a son who, after his father dies, learns how to properly bury his father, and the memory of his father, through beekeeping. "Wands" is about two cousins who struggle over a lost fiddle. And "Dispatches from a Future Norwegian Futurist" follows a single survivor of a future plague whose job is to dispose of the bodies until he learns he is soon to be replaced in this position by a thing called Prometheus. The novella, entitled The Re-Enactors, follows a father and son--Brinkley and Drift--who, six months after the mother's sudden death from an antique Civil War weapon accident, find themselves riding on top of a train through South Carolina. Through the course of leaping off the train, hiking through a swamp, and confronting a violent mob in the countryside, Brinkley and Drift also confront each other concerning the mother's mysterious death and how they themselves must keep their family together.

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