Date of Award
Master of Arts
Margaret Lazarus Dean, Mary Papke
This collection of short stories is about men, men and women, and the problems that occur in relationships when one character is more unstable than the other. In today’s modern times, the role played by each gender has shifted mightily, and as women become closer and closer to being regarded as equals, many men have found themselves wondering what this means for them. The man is no longer the undisputed leader of the household. He is no longer the sole breadwinner. Without a clear role to play, some men find themselves pressured to lash out in some way, to overcompensate for their newfound insufficiencies, and their actions are not always what one would expect.
This is also a collection about loss and grief. Several characters in these stories are suffering from one emotional trauma or another, usually brought about by the death of a loved one. These characters find unique ways to deal with their grief. One such character hides his dead mother’s body in his bedroom while another, a middle-aged widower, joins a couple of his late wife’s friends for a sexual rendezvous in their new apartment. These stories seek to create a unique blend of tension, humor, and grotesqueness in search of some kind of understanding in these difficult times. This is a collection about men and their issues, but also, it is a collection that reaches out to that little part of us all that doesn’t quite know where we belong.
Seale, Larry Joseph, "What Men Do and Other Stories. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2014.