Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

English

Advisor/Chair:

Joyce Kinkead

Abstract

This two-section thesis explores the subjective nature of villainy. The larger section, "Dream’s End," is an urban-fantasy young-adult fiction piece I’ve written in epistolary form. I preface the fiction with a critical introduction in which I briefly examine existing definitional scholarship on 1) epistolary fiction, 2) the urban fantasy genre, and 3) the young adult genre. Epistolary fiction may be letters, diaries, or journal entries. Following this exploration, I examine the subjective nature of villains and antagonists in narratives. While "Dream’s End" does not specifically discuss or critique feminist theory, it considers criticism of existing female tropes in its portrayal of both the characters and their roles in relation to one another.

The second section of the thesis is comprised of a collection of journal entries, divided into six chapters, wherein protagonist Emma keeps a record of the experiences she has while traveling to another world in her dreams. In this alternate dream world, Emma finds community and purpose absent from her waking life, but must ultimately come to terms with a perceived betrayal and various moral quandaries when her two worlds begin to bleed together. The journal entries will eventually be incorporated into a novel as backstory, and so are presented with a brief explanation as to their significance to the larger narrative. Through the various characters in these journal entries, I explore the complex nature of protagonists and antagonists, and discuss how the classification of each is relative to the experience and perceptions of the characters within the narrative, as well as the readers outside it.

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