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Harm's Way: Stories

Chauna Janene Craig, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Harm's Way is a collection of nine short stories that explore how humans struggle within their cultural circumstances to make sense of individual experience. In the title story, I examine harm's way, that is, how harm visits us in ways we may not even recognize. The main character fears the physical harm that may come to her as a single female when she breaks down on a busy highway, but she fails to understand the harm she's doing to herself by clinging to the illusion that neither she nor relationships are permanent and unchanging. In “Thirsty,” the narrator comes to understand that loneliness is an inherent part of human experience and that neither her environment nor her personal choices can change that. ^ The rest of these stories are set in Montana, and through the lens of landscape, I examine how the cultural stories of the American West shape our individual stories. In the story trilogy composed of “Binocular,” “All the Birds Vanish,” and “Merely Players,” I follow the developing pressures in the lives of a single mother, a man with a bend towards violence, and a young boy torn between competing notions of masculinity. Finally, in the remaining stories, “Big Sky Blue,” “This is History,” “First Snow,” and “The Weeds of Summer,” I give voice to the female Westerner, portraying her struggle to find subjectivity in a culture that makes little room for her narratives. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Modern|Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Craig, Chauna Janene, "Harm's Way: Stories" (1999). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9929191.