Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Anthony Viola

Second Advisor

John Van Kirk

Third Advisor

Whitney Douglas


After a Funeral, Before a Test; and Other Stories is a collection of nine fictional short stories. Their focus is diverse in regard to multiple aspects of creative fiction: subject matter, theme, style, setting and characters. Despite the array of material, one common method was to provide narration that would invite readers to make their own interpretation rather than to present overt, didactic stories. This narrative strategy was accomplished by using fictional concepts of setting, the objective correlative, and literary minimalism. Other elements include surrealism, Hemingway’s “iceberg effect,” and psychologically complex narrators. Literary influences include F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Ernest Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River,” Anton Chekhov’s “Misery” and Raymond Carver’s “Neighbors.” Theoretical influences are drawn from Suzanne Ferguson’s essay “Defining the Short Story: Impressionism and Form,” Charles E. May’s essay “Chekhov and the Modern Short Story,” and Cynthia Hallett’s book Minimalism and the Short Story.


Short stories, American - 21st century.