First Advisor

Paul Collins

Date of Publication

Summer 9-24-2015

Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing






Travel -- Fiction, Liminality -- Fiction



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 95 pages)


A collection of reflective essays on the personal relationship with identity, land and travel. All of the essays are united by common themes of liminality, transformation and neutral space, set against the backdrop of Iceland and Hawaii.

Anthropologist Arnold Van Gennep writes how certain geographical "zones," those that are semi-civilized with less precise boundaries are neutral zones. For example, deserts, marshes and virgin forests equally accessible to everyone because they are places in between. Whoever passes through these sacred spaces finds herself physically and magico-religiously in a special situation for a length of time—wavering between two worlds. Travel neutralizes the traveler, forces her into a space of imbalance and liminality (i.e. the threshold), where as an outsider she is as equally weak as she is powerful.

I am interested in exploring this liminal space as it relates to my own personal relationship with identity and belonging. Throughout my life the topic of symbolic and spatial liminality appears again and again: through my identity as a "third-culture kid" raised in Saudi Arabia; through my own biraciality; through travel in general or even the physical act of the journey. I imagine this self as part of the Earth (a secular relationship represented by Hawaii) and part of the Sky (a metaphysical relationship represented by Iceland).


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This thesis is only available to students, faculty and staff at PSU.

Persistent Identifier