Date of Award

1-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

College/School

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department/Program

English

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Rita Jacobs

Committee Member

David Galef

Committee Member

Naomi Liebler

Subject(s)

Dave Eggers--Heartbreaking work of staggering genius, Jonathan Safran Foer--Extremely loud & incredibly close, Experimental Literature

Abstract

This thesis discusses the experimental writing techniques of two contemporary American authors, Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer, in their works A Heartbreaking Work o f Staggering Genius and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, respectively. These authors’ narrative experiments are examined and contextualized through the lens of trauma theory, a practice of literary analysis that relies upon studies of the effects of trauma, most specifically the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Branin posits that Eggers’ and Foer’s experimental narrative choices—e.g. shifts in form and narrator, the use of circuitous and non-chronological narratives, typographical experiments, and the use of images instead of words—are not only shaped by the trauma the characters in each work have experienced, but are also necessary to accurately and fully convey the experience of trauma. Experimental narratives linguistically and aesthetically reflect the cognitive realities of their traumatized subjects.

File Format

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