Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Greaver, Talitha. Only Ourselves. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. May 2020.


Copyright Talitha Greaver 2020.


In many aspects, the main character Maude Martinsson is a normal high school student—she’s at times shy and awkward, at other moments stubborn and overconfident. She’s trying to form her own identity apart from her parents while juggling school and extracurricular activities and the beginnings of her first romantic relationship. Similarly, in many ways the setting of Only Ourselves is the normal, Midwest society we find ourselves in today. However, in one significant aspect this world is different from our own: a wave of xenophobia, connected to the belief that genetic makeup can predetermine one’s personality and character, has clouded the judgment of many citizens, leading to discrimination of those predetermined to be violent or treacherous.

For most of her life, this hasn’t been an issue for sixteen-year-old Maude. However, when she moves to Yankton, South Dakota and befriends Arthur Josam, a boy whose father murdered his mother, who therefore is considered persona non grata within the community, Maude must decide if she will continue to accept the discriminatory beliefs handed down to her by her own parents, or reshape her worldview and defend her new friend.