Advisory Committee Chair
James M Braziel
Advisory Committee Members
Date of Award
Degree Name by School
Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences
“Antiseptic” is a collection of five stories that explore the ways family dynamics shift under hardships. The collection navigates how shifts affect both children and adults. Why do some family members wither, some simply survive, while others flourish under the pressure of a difficult experience? But these stories are not looking for specific answers. Instead, the questions are starting places for developing the internal struggles of the main characters. Where those struggles take the main characters is something that the collection explores. The collection is connected not only by the thread of family, but also by the range of emotions conveyed after loss. “Antiseptic” looks at Chanalee, newly released from the hospital after trying to kill herself. She has given up her daughter to her mother to be with her husband, James, and she cannot deal with the pressure that comes from her decision. “Balloon Daddy” follows the story of Eloise, an eleven-year-old girl who is navigating the complexities of her family dealing with the loss of her grandfather. She comes to discover that adults are not always great examples, but that humanity is more complicated than she once thought. In “Blue Lines,” the main character Amber deals with the slow death of her mother to cancer, and the navigation of the emotions that she feels as she experiences the loss. She gives up swimming in an attempt to hold on to the final days with her mother and discovers the value of family. Finally, “Evangeline” follows the story of Kaitlyn, who is grieving the loss of her daughter Evangeline. She tries to experience life with her son and husband, but struggles to move on from the death of her daughter. Each of these stories take the main character through hard times, and delve into the experiences that surround loss. The characters must walk through their hardships, learn to deal with their circumstances, and somehow grow.
Tompkins, Elizabeth Ann, "Antiseptic" (2017). All ETDs from UAB. 3156.