Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

John Van Kirk

Second Advisor

Rachael Peckham

Third Advisor

Jane Hill


Heavier Than It Looks and Other Stories is a collection of fiction containing one novella-length story, in six parts, centering on the life of a young man coming to terms with a close friend’s suicide. The remaining stories depict different characters amidst situations unique to each character’s stage in life: childhood in 1930s Appalachia in "The Other Kid In a Candy Store," mourning and violent crime in "Picking A Lock," transcendence in "Pathétique," mid-life changes in "Lester’s Last Melancholy," managing addiction in "Staying Clean," youthful folly in "Just For Fun," and storytelling in "The Taste of a Story." Works that influenced Heavier Than It Looks and Other Stories include John Van Kirk’s "Newark Job," Chaudhry Shaukat Ali’s, "The Open Sewer," Stuart Dybek’s "Chopin In Winter," Amy Hempel’s Reasons To Live, J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories, and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried (as well as Robert Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land).


Short stories, American -- Appalachian Region.

Life cycle, Human -- Fiction.