Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Larry tenHarmsel
Bonnie Jo Campbell
The stories in the collection Unconfessed explore the problem of loss. These stories resist the kind of closure that seeks to comfort readers with the message that loss leads to personal insight, growth, and transformation. Instead, the characters in these stories respond to their losses with stoicism, self-destructive risk-taking, and acts of violence. While their losses may lead to change, the changes are not necessarily therapeutic. Thus, readers may derive insight from the characters' willful resistance to it. The kinds of loss explored in the collection range from the loss of family members and friends by death and estrangement, to the loss of personal safety or emotional security, to the loss of independence. Risk-taking becomes a secondary theme in the collection as the characters, responding to the inevitable feeling of powerlessness that loss begets, try to restore a belief in their own power by acting out in destructive ways. Set in Michigan, the stories share a localized sense of place.
Longberg, Kaye Lynn, "Unconfessed: A Collection of Short Stories" (2006). Dissertations. 966.