2021 Thesis Abstracts

Anna Benedict

Anna Benedict Headshot

Anna's Honors Thesis Abstract
Advisor: Joyelle McSweeney

As the Crow Flies

As the Crow Flies is a gothic novel set in a small town where the undercurrent running through living things rises to the surface, where the boundaries between psychology and magic are blurred. Drawing from clinical and cognitive psychology, this work of speculative fiction asks questions such as: What does it mean to inhabit a body? What does it mean to perceive and be perceived? What does it mean when the connection between mind and body is disrupted? I explore these questions, as well as issues of intimacy, trauma, memory, and mental illness, through a braided narrative of rich emotional landscapes. Investigating the experience of space, place, and the layering of time and drawing from the psychogeographic writings of Yi-Fu Tuan, the work circles around taxonomy and a curious alchemy of things and notes ideas of gender in relation to nature. Exploring coded communication and the concept of the unreliable narrator intersecting with reality, the work also asks: In what way is reality constructed by how we as individuals perceive it? Are any of us truly a “reliable” narrator? The novel spins together the familiar and unfamiliar, toying with fairytale tropes of the witch and the child lost in the woods while destabilizing the idea of “crazy” through the experience of neurodivergence. The form unites traditional and nontraditional prose styles, incorporating a modern folk interpretation of the Greek chorus. Language of the scientific and language of the fantastical intertwine and intersect, pushing against each other, the supernatural defined as hyper-natural. A distinctive aesthetic zone, gothic and visceral, permeates the work. Drawing from fairytales, surrealist art, folk horror, and more, As the Crow Flies is a story about the imperfect yet formidable nature of memory as we construct our own self-narratives.

Audrey Lindemann

Advisor: Johannes Goransson
Thesis Title: Dustbowl

Anne Plecki

Advisor: Roy Scranton
Thesis Title: Wonder