Date of Award:

8-2019

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

English

Advisor/Chair:

Jennifer Sinor

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Michael Sowder

Third Advisor:

Evelyn Funda

Abstract

The idea for my thesis stemmed from a braided essay I wrote for a creative writing class. I didn’t initially plan on expanding my class essay into a memoir, but I have discovered that oftentimes the story finds us rather than the other way around. Using the memoir form allowed me to bridge quite naturally the subjects of grief and landscape by giving me space to reflect on a turbulent period in my life and arrive at some sort of conclusion. While I could see the importance of the natural world in my life, I didn’t realize at first how it helped me work through the grief, depression, and anxiety I experienced after my mother passed away. Writing about that period of my life helped me see the direct connections between landscape and healing. Grief itself can feel circular or like a whirlpool with no escape. Healing, on the other hand, transpires more linearly. For that reason, I decided to use geology as a metaphor to demonstrate how I worked through the emotional landscape of grief toward acceptance and healing after tragedy.

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