Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Jennifer Sinor

Abstract

In this Plan B thesis, I wrote a braided essay accompanied by a critical introduction. The essay moves between three different topics: Salt Lake Comic Con; the journal of James Holmes, the shooter in the Aurora theatre massacre; and my father’s incarceration. Through the interaction among these three topics, or strands, I explore the lines we construct as human beings as a way of defining and controlling our world. I investigate such dichotomies as normal/abnormal, inside/outside, good/bad, and fantasy/reality. By the end, the strands reveal the fragility of the lines we draw and the futility of attempting to construct them. As much as we try to sort and categorize, life falls into the area between lines—both normal and abnormal, inside and outside, good and bad, fantasy and reality. Rather than trying to reestablish my own lines and boundaries after the trauma of my father’s incarceration, I conclude that he falls in the space between categories, hovering the border. And ultimately, so do we all.

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