Graduate Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2020

Thesis Director

Bess Winter

Thesis Committee Member

Melissa M. Caldwell

Thesis Committee Member

Woody Skinner


Adapting fairy tales and folklore has been an ongoing endeavor by storytellers and artists since the very first story was repeated. The evidence can be seen in the many versions of fairy tales like those of the sleeping beauty, from Giambattista Basile’s “Sun, Moon, and Talia” to Walt Disney’s Maleficent. However, unlike their European counterparts, adaptations of American tales outside of children’s literature are not as ubiquitous. My writing rectifies this by adding to the resurging interest as seen in recent retellings like Matt Bell’s Appleseed: The Monstrous Birth (2019).

In an effort to reframe the American tall tale and adapt these stories for the modern reader, I write from the points-of-view of secondary characters, many of them women. In my collection, Babe, Johnny Inkslinger, Slue-Foot Sue, and technology get the chance to escape the shadows of giants like Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and John Henry; and the sycamore from the Jamestown Mother-In-Law Tree legend finally speaks of the role it plays in the unforgiving nature of a controlling mother. My adaptations will help keep American tall tales and folklore alive, similar to what the books of Angela Carter, Carol Ann Duffy, and Neil Gaiman do for European fairy tales.