Date of Graduation

Spring 2009


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Margaret Weaver


colorblindness, discourse, native american, storytelling, fluidity, ownership, yellow woman, hero's journey

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


In Western writing, the emphasis that is put on an Author's ownership leaves the story that was at one time alive and vibrant, dead and perfectly transcribed, on the written page. Originality is lauded while adaptation and re-tellings are failed. How does it reflect upon us, as writers, when we allow our natural course of writing, our fluidity and color, to come to the forefront of our personal stories? This thesis juxtaposes these ideas of "dead" writing against Native American storytelling which is represented as fluid and changing. I have used various versions of "Yellow Woman" and compared them to well-known Western fairy tales and the Hero's Journey. I use the masculine genetic flaw of colorblindness to "highlight" how men often overlook (deliberately so) the colors put out by women. Ultimately, I conclude that native-American writers like Leslie Marmon Silko demonstrate through stories like "Yellow Woman" that not only can stories be written down, but that writing a story does not necessarily kill the life of that story. The story continues to be told and re-told by others without fear of plagiarism or threats of appropriation. I incorporate different discourses and styles throughout this thesis in order to address multiple audiences. I embrace textual differences by following in the footsteps of Gloria Anzaldua who uses various genres and languages in order to cross the borderlands of her audience and embrace not only her own method of discourse, but the discourse of others. Discovering writers who utilize these different methods of discourse has shown me a larger view of literacy and encouraged me to try to do something different in my own work.


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