Thesis Title



Caleb Stokes

Date of Graduation

Spring 2009


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

W.D. Blackmon


fiction, family, time, veterinary medicine, animal rights

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


Burden is the first half of a novel structured in two parts of novella length. The contents of this creative thesis constitute the first half. The story follows the life of Jimmy Castry, a fiercely intelligent young man recently graduated from college. Jimmy earns acceptance to a prestigious veterinary program on the other side of the country, and the majority of the novel chronicles his transition into a new life and how it conflicts so drastically his familial obligations. The Castry family remains a persistent influence in the protagonist’s life, despite his attempts to distance himself from them spatially, intellectually, and emotionally. Jimmy’s life is hopelessly set in opposition to the past, but by denying his upbringing he invalidates the basis of his entire personality. The strange childhood which left the protagonist an emotional cripple is the same impetus for his choice of profession. Jimmy comes to realize that his life's calling is entirely unexamined, a random direction in which he chose to flee his old existence. Ultimately, Jimmy's struggle is the choice between being defined by his family, defined against them, or developing a new concept of self entirely.


© Caleb Stokes

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