Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Thisbe Nissen

Second Advisor

Cody Harrison


My thesis, titled “Woodburn, Texas: A Study in Southern Gothic”, is a short story separated into four main sections as well as an introductory piece and conclusion that are separate from the other sections. The four main sections are separated by four prose poems ¾one for each season.

Separating the sections are four prose poems that follow the seasons. They allow for further access into the history and mindset of the people of this seemingly quiet and slow town as well as the Southern mindset in general.

Both the poems and the regular prose are told in the first person plural point of view allowing for a closeness with the town as a whole without focusing too much on one person in particular. The only narrator is Woodburn as an entity.

The story follows the small and mundane central east Texan town of Woodburn and opens on a great tragedy¾ a young girl¾the mayor of the town’s only daughter¾, previously thought to be missing, has turned up dead by suspicious means. When her death is followed by another and then another, it appears the small and previously quiet town is plagued with a serial killer: one who is unafraid to strike in the light of day and display their victims in gruesome ways.

A girl is found alive, appearing to have escaped the clutches of the killer. Through her flashes of memories, a sketch is passed around town, and a man is arrested. When he is released after further investigation, the town riots. They gather and decide to take action on their own, outside of the judicial realm. A few weeks later, further evidence comes into play, and it seems the town may have acted too soon. But it is far too late to undo their vengeance.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Reflection.pdf (40 kB)
Reflection Paper