Date of Award:

5-2009

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

English

Advisor/Chair:

Jennifer Sinor

Abstract

Twenty-two-year-old Macy Oman narrates the book in retrospect from Cascade, Oregon, where she is visiting her mother. Macy's father moved with her to Portland shortly after the accidental death of her brother, Nick, seven years before the narration begins. Macy's mother stayed behind in Cascade. Thematically the work centers on the emotional repercussions of these losses. Macy's, and her older lover Jason's, involvement with Nick's death is unknown to everyone. Her guilt and her mother's perceived betrayal are disabling. Taking her longing for closeness to nature and to her reclusive friend Celia, Macy discovers folklore that inspires a vision quest to seek her own personal healer, a shaman inside. When Macy accepts and reveals her part in Nick's death, it opens the way to further revelations about the real root of her parents' separation, the divisive nature of assumptions, and the healing power of acceptance.

This story attempts to loosely rewrite, subvert or reclaim the early life of the mythological Medea, who betrayed her father and her brother by aiding her lover, Jason the Argonaught, in his quest to obtain the golden fleece that hung on an oak tree, guarded by a dragon. In this story, the golden fleece is represented by an Apollo scarf that Macy's father Richard, an eccentric art-history buff, bought for her mother. Mythologically, the fleece was a powerful artifact, heavily guarded, worthy of war. In this rendition, the value of the scarf, rather than being material, is emotional. In comparison with the golden fleece, the Apollo scarf, an expensive item that is only appreciated for the relationships it represents, is meant to signal the superiority of the emotional over the material.

Ultimately Macy does not betray her family; it is Mari who stays behind and Macy who instigates a reconciliation when she reveals the truth about her somewhat inadvertent participation in Nick's death.

(352 pages)

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