Date of Graduation

Spring 2021


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Alan Tinkler


This thesis begins with a critical introduction analyzing the use of defamiliarization and the Dostoevskian hero in literature as a catalyst for a change in perception for victims of trauma. I create a relationship between the theories of Viktor Shklovsky and Mikhail Bakhtin as applied to both my own and published works. Short stories from Carmen Maria Machado and Marly Swick and Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale help to situate my own writing within this theoretical approach. The basis of my hypothesis lies in the blurred effect that trauma can have on the individual, causing an automatic response to any incidence similar to the primary trauma. The act of defamiliarization grants a perspective toward the initial trauma, breaking the automatic response (Shklovsky) and allowing the recovery process to begin. This new perspective helps the victim to broaden self-consciousness and transforms them from victim to hero (Bakhtin). Literature that defamiliarizes trauma allows a safe vantage point for sufferers and creates a place for recovery.


creative writing, fiction, hero, defamiliarization, trauma

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Creative Writing | Fiction


© Samantha Crystal Rae Barnette

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