Master of Arts (MA)
Semester of Degree Completion
My creative thesis consists of four short stories and my author's introduction to them.
In my introduction, I discuss my primary literary influences; not only the author's whose approaches to short fiction that I share, but also those I feel indifferent towards. Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio is admirable for its sketches of common people and ordinary life events. James Joyce is highlighted as the originator of literary epiphany, a moment of revelation or profound insight, and both A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners provide examples of the device. Hemingway's stripped down language is appreciated for the reader oriented effect it produces. J.D. Salinger's Nine Stories displays emotionally fragile yet thoroughly amusing male characters, and also employs epiphany. Anton Chekhov's short stories provide many appealing qualities: compassion, humor, a sense of duty to mankind; and they very often address love. The author cited as having the greatest effect on my work is Raymond Carver. Unlike Joyce and Salinger, Carver's stories carry epiphanies that are experienced by the readers; the stories are full of simple people and ordinary life events; the language is so spare it begs reader interaction; and Carver often relies upon poetic images.
Through research, I have gained a better understanding of my approach to short fiction. "Door to Door," "The Christmas Card," "The Burn," and "Quick Change," in one way or another, demonstrate this approach: stories committed to the art of the everyday, told in spare and unassuming language, touched with humor, enriched by poetic images, often focusing on love and heartbreak, and sometimes ending in epiphany.
Levek, Bryan, "Door to Door" (1999). Masters Theses. 1516.