Graduate Studies


Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professors Gerald Shapiro and Judith Slater. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2011
Copyright 2011 Claire Harlan Orsi


This text is a collection of five stories. The first, “After the Fire,” concerns a man’s struggles to deal with the after effects of a devastating fire. The second, “War’s Playground,” is inspired by a WWII movement to transform war rubble into play equipment for children. The third, “The Eternal Life of Dogs,” revolves around a priest’s attempt to baptize dogs. The fourth, “Nostalgia’s End,” is a whimsical take on the current commodification of the artifacts of memory. The final story, “Citizens of the Real World,” involves a relationship between two young people of different social classes. The themes these stories explore, are, respectively: the lingering effects of trauma, the search for authenticity in a time of war, the conflict between ecclesiastical doctrine and spiritual conviction, the power and limits of memory, and finally the challenge of bridging class divides. These stories represent the creative synthesis of two years of literary study and technical practice.

Advisers: Gerald Shapiro and Judith Slater