Portland State University. Department of English.
Date of Publication
Master of Arts (M.A.) in English
Fire ants -- Cross Creek -- Moth dance -- Primal urges -- By any other name -- In the aftermath -- Hues of cucumber and tomato -- At the sign of the black angel -- Stitches -- Etâe dans Paris
1 online resource (112 p.)
Loss is a fundamental part of the human experience, from the loss of security and innocence that comes with the necessary separation of child from parent to the ultimate loss of life. Along the way, there are the losses of jobs, of incomes, of homes; the losses of friendships, of family members, of lovers; the losses of direction, of control, of hope. As cognitive and caring beings, humans struggle to cope with these losses, to greater and lesser degrees of success. This is the theme at the heart of this thesis. Fire Ants is composed of ten short stories, fictive works, which differ in specific subject matter, yet deal unilaterally with issues of loss. Like the venomous creatures that threaten to eat B. D. Packard alive in the title story, life eats away at a number of characters in the collection who are deficient. The narrators in "Aftermath" and "Hues," for example, suffer psychological -- if not physical -- deaths. But not all of the characters lack coping mechanisms, unhealthy as they may sometimes be. As the stories unfold, some characters begin to gain small degrees of perspective and understanding, to learn that while life is full of loss, it is not always entirely bleak. As demonstrated in "Cross Creek," good exists, though it is not always where one might expect it. And life can be full despite loss, as depicted in "Stitches."
Riha, Joyce Marie, "Fire Ants" (1996). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5150.