Date of Award:

3-2009

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

English

Advisor/Chair:

Charles Waugh

Abstract

Born to a Hungarian mother and a father of Hungarian descent, I have spent my life trapped between two worlds, never quite able to be entirely part of either. As such, it seems fitting that for thesis I chose to do a novella, an art form that is neither short story nor novel. The novella is, I argue, a form that is uniquely suited to the task of examining a single theme at length, which I do in my thesis. It is through this little-studied form of fiction that I create a story through which I examine my own identity and world view. "The Last Honest Man" tells the story of Attila Molnár, a Hungarian shoe factory manager who comes to America to reconnect with his estranged wife. Along the way, he meets an old colleague, a former KGB agent who asks for his help in a scam involving the Y2K crisis. The novel explores the interconnected theme of identity and nationality in a world constantly shifting and changing politically and technologically. It addresses values of loyalty, friendship, family, and courage, each altered by time yet fundamentally unchanged.

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