Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Elizabeth Harris-Behling


This thesis, A Country of Giants, consists of four short stories which explore the borderland between youthful innocence and adult understanding. This borderland is often considered in "coming of age" tales, a literary genre that investigates the growth of youthful characters. Through my four stories I examine themes including a loss of innocence, claiming one's identity, independence, and sexual understanding. In addition to those themes I present situations where adults lose their experiential understanding, digressing into a more innocent and uninformed state. I tend to write realistic stories, and it is my hope this use of realism develops well-rounded characters that a reader can sympathize with, involving those readers with my stories. I also write with a stylized language. Due to my character's' inability to name the situations and experiences they are encountering, my heavy use of metaphor and simile--as well as disjointed sentence structure--renders this lack of understanding as accurately and as vividly as possible. Lastly, in addition to my stories I include an introduction to my thesis discussing the influence of other writers, including their particular themes and writing styles, which places my own work within an established literary tradition.