All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Kerry Madden-Lunsford

Advisory Committee Members

James Braziel

Daniel Siegel

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2018

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

OUT OF AMERICA WILLIAM ‘BO’ KING ENGLISH ABSTRACT Out of America is a creative nonfiction novella that tells the story of my life as an expatriate minor, living away from the United States where I was born. The story covers a number of themes including divorce, kidnapping, race, anti-American sentiment, death, rebirth, and figuring out my place in the middle of all of it. I wanted to write this piece to finally give voice to myself and my history. The story begins with my family’s flight from the United States. This came after legal recourse had been denied following allegations of my biological father being abusive. We picked up and left everything, first taking a train to Orlando, Florida, and then a flight to São Paulo, Brazil. I was seven years old at the time, and my sister, Lee, was four. After living in Brazil for about three years, we once again abandoned the country, having reason to suspect that my biological father had discovered where we were. We travelled to South Africa where we stayed for over ten years. During this time, our passports were flagged and numerous law enforcement agencies, including the police, FBI, and Interpol were looking for us. What they might have been able to do had they found us was uncertain. My mother and step-father had specifically chosen Brazil and South Africa as our destinations because, at that time, they were both non-extradition countries. Throughout the story, I am trying to reconcile my feelings about my biological father with my knowledge of the things he was supposed to have done. I am also trying to figure out where I stand with everyone else as we travel to other countries with their unique cultures. At that time, South Africa was still operating under a policy of apartheid. The whole story raises questions about how far one would go to protect those they love. When does the line between right and wrong, black and white blur? In the end, are we all living in the gray?

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