English, Department of


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 Professor Jonis Agee. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2011

Copyright 2011 Peter Bayless


Tyler Sexton is a male in his mid-twenties whose life seems to have ground to a halt before it truly began. Despite the opportunities afforded him by a successful college education and an upper-middle-class family background, Tyler's life since the death of his father from heart disease has become one dominated by malaise, living alone and working a dead-end job as a grocery store customer-service manager, clinging to the family members he has left. Now, with his mother suffering from a debilitating fight with cancer and his sisters either starting their own families or withdrawing even further into episodes of emotional breakdown than he has. Into this crisis comes a figure from Tyler‟s high school years, an awkward acquaintance who never became a friend, but who‟s developed a life that seems to offer Tyler a way out—or at least the tools to fix his own.

Up Too Late is the as-of-this-writing working title of my main project, a novel-length manuscript that I began writing the first version of in the fall of 2009. The selected excerpt here represents the third iteration of my attempt to tell Tyler‟s story, coming after a restart at the end of the summer 2010 and revisions in the spring of 2011, and is accompanied by an introduction that goes into greater detail on the evolution of and influences on the piece.