Date of Defense




First Advisor

Richard Katrovas

Second Advisor

Scott Freisner


This thesis analyzes how and why one student decides to eschew analytical writing, while also dramatizing the strengths and limits of another form, the personal essay, resulting in a conflicted narrative that plays freely within the borders between the two genres. Conversations between one student writer and his peer novices, combined with some discussion of autobiographical reflections on writing by select (supposed) masters explores the following hypothesis: generally, when a student writer must formulate such a thing as a hypothesis, he hastily conjures some showy, world-defining hack sentence—he cannot help this, since he knows nothing of the world. The alternative is that he stays within himself—writes what he knows. Yet the result still cannot escape pretension, since in fact he knows as little about himself. Either student writer—the hack or the humbled—is seemingly doomed; they research only in order to mask their deficiencies. We must live amidst our confusion and hope only to solve it by writing more slop. The only safe conclusion is that the present student writer will graduate, upon the completion of this thesis, in April 2005.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only