Date of Graduation

Spring 2023


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Jennifer Murvin


This creative thesis includes thirteen flash nonfiction pieces and one fiction short story exploring emotions and experiences that have changed who I am today. These writings are personal experiences or are inspired by personal experience. These creative works interrogate deeply transformative events and situations, such as familial relationships, trauma, poverty, living in the Midwest, patriarchy, and the beauty in existing. In the thesis’s critical introduction, I examine how my flash nonfiction pieces employ Milan Kundera’s theory of the appeal of play and Charles Baxter’s concept defamiliarization. I analyze how the succinct form of the flash essay allows my nonfiction writing to reflect the complexities and nature of trauma and memory. I analyze the way my short story employs the narrative mode of magical realism to complicate and deepen meaning through what Jacob Appel identifies as “the grand metaphor.” I analyze these techniques and modes of writing through the published works of Milan Kundera, Charles Baxter, John Gardner, Lidia Yuknavitch, Claudia Rankine, and others.


creative writing, creative nonfiction, memoir, flash memoir, lyric essay, personal essay, magical realism, defamiliarization, literature of trauma, poverty, class

Subject Categories

Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Fiction | Fine Arts | Nonfiction | Women's Studies


© Amy Gault

Open Access