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Date of Award

1994

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

English

First Advisor

John Smith

Abstract

These four stories are stories about life. The central characters are at a time in their lives when decisions become crucial and they have to act or become lost. Each of the dominant characters has experienced something in life that was beyond their control and they haven't recovered. These stories bring out and explore their recoveries. They are stories of rediscoveries of the self.

In the story Gray, Margaret, is not in control of her life. She has had the trauma of losing her only daughter, and there is the intervention of a family friend who has only greed at heart. Margaret and her husband cannot cope and their situation is rapidly moving out of their control. Margaret discovers inner strength, and in her own subtle way, conveys this to her husband. She rebounds from the death of her daughter by becoming stronger herself. In the end, she has found peace within herself and the grief will take a more natural course.

The characters in Revenge, parody people in repressed situations. The three women, a farce on three fairy tales, are out for revenge. They comically plot the deaths of the men who have repressed them. Their feminist attitudes lead them through adventures until, at last, they are free. Red Hood, Locks, and Beauty represent women who when bonded together become strong. They gain support from one another and then have the courage to act out their plans.

Monica in A Strangled Cry, is not quite so strong. She has a history of problems. These problems are being compounded without her knowledge. She is repressed and controlled by Jeff, her doctor. She finally reaches a point where she knows that she either has to break free of the downward spiral of her life or give in to it forever. She cannot do it alone, however, and she has the help of her brother zack for her final escape.

Finally, in Nine Lives, Katherine is in a relationship which is keeping her repressed. She tries to escape but cannot seem to. Finally she relies on help from her mother and her mother's attorney to help her flee from her abusive husband. She achieves her freedom after a long and trying escape.

All four of the stories are a brief outlook on a side of life. The main characters have to make decisions which will affect the rest of their lives. The decisions are not always completely conscious or deliberate, but the results are consequential.

Pages

162

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