Theses and Dissertations

Bitter Remnants

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Committee Chair

Charlotte Pence, Ph.D.


Bitter Remnants is composed of six short stories which collectively explore trauma, or the remnants left by life-defining catalysts. Whether through violence, sex, relationships, or emotional or psychological distress, a person’s errors leave residue that does not necessarily vanish or heal; it often hides and evolves as the person attempts to move forward. These stories reflect that it is not the act of watching someone’s downfall that brings empathy; it is fully immersing oneself in a character’s worldview, committing these acts alongside them, and witnessing the effects. Together, these stories represent the complexity and grayness of “doing wrong.” Sex, pain, and death, or fear of death, are deeply rooted in the everyday, so inherently, these can be detrimental when wielded by human beings under pressure. Overall, Bitter Remnants traverses the primal, the vulnerable, and the foolish. It acknowledges constraints in order to test them, and it plays in spaces without one singular morality in order to explore erosion, hypocrisy, ethical grayness, and human intricacy. Each story—and this collection as a whole—is intended to be an equally true and absurd portrait of life, as well as a representation of the ways in which people indulge in chaos, only to have to confront the remains.

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