Date of Award:

12-2019

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

English

Committee

Charles Waugh

Committee

Brock Dethier

Committee

John Gamber

Abstract

This is a creative thesis comprised of three short stories centered on the experiences of three Navajo protagonists living on the Navajo reservation. The short stories fit within the field of Native American Literature and highlight issues of mortality, sexuality, and ceremony. The stories illustrate the experiences of modern-day Navajo youth grappling to understand how to connect traditional knowledge with modernity. The three stories featured within this thesis are offered as a way to understand these challenges. Each protagonist is faced with an issue of morality, sexuality, or ceremony, and each reach differing conclusions about these topics within their lives.

This collection is comprised of three short stories entitled “Dormant,” “Under the Porch Way,” and “The Missing Morningstar.” The first story, “Dormant,” is about a young female Navajo protagonist and her budding relationship with her math teacher. She has a pregnancy scare and considers the meaning of motherhood and her sexuality. The second story, “Under the Porch Way,” is about an adolescent Navajo boy who is being haunted by his father’s ghost, and has a traditional ceremony done, but it fails to work. Instead, after attempting to have sex with his girlfriend, Jenni, under the porch, he finds that his father’s ghost has left him. The final story “The Missing Morningstar,” is about a young two-spirit woman whose romantic interest is kidnapped and left for dead in a ditch. The protagonist considers her sexuality and traditional Navajo identity.

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