Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Patrick Henry


Wild and Domestic is a collection of short stories set in rural northwestern Minnesota that center around themes of parenting, family, and the desire for stability and security. This desire for domestic harmony often comes into conflict with the characters’ strong desire for personal freedom, self-expression, sexual gratification, and a deeper connection to the natural world—desires that are linked to the concept of wild. The collection also invites readers to reflect on its animal characters. In many of the stories, animal characters, both wild and domestic, play a role in setting up the crisis or climax of the story by bringing the characters’ competing desires into focus.

In this collection I use minimalist style to explore themes that have often been associated with sentimental writing. The minimalist techniques of bare-bones language and close attention to images allow me to create round, complex human and animal characters without resorting to sentimental manipulation of the readers’ emotional. These characters complicate the domestic-wild binary and invite the reader to reimagine their own relationship with both.

Many of these stories have been published in literary journals and I anticipate its publication as a collection as well. I believe that at this time of rapidly vanishing species and social isolation due to our increased dependence on technology, humans crave a connection with animals more than ever. Wild and Domestic exposes multiple reasons behind our need to connect with our animal kin and emphasizes the importance of the connection.