Date of Award
Master of Arts
Mutilatto contains five works of short fiction that have a central theme: women and their identities. Each work explores one woman, sometimes from her own point of view and sometimes not, whose self-identity often conflicts with the identity those around her perceive. This work also explores the theme of victimhood -- how women become victims, and how they often make victims of themselves. Essentially, each of the characters, Stella, Janey, Caroline, Jenna, and Sandra, is maimed in some way, either literally or figuratively, and yet the fact that they are maimed does not make them victims. All have free will, all are in control of their actions, and all make choices for themselves and are ultimately responsible for what happens to them.· These stories are based on the idea that, even though we may have no control over what happens to us, we all make decisions that affect our lives. It's a simple premise, but one that gets overlooked. Each of these characters has a difficult life, but it is not right to simply say that each was dealt a bad hand. Stella and Janey could leave home, Caroline could stop being so polite, Jenna could have reached her epiphany sooner, and Sandra could simply choose to be normal. Though all of them are acted upon by outside forces, to a degree, none of them can truly blame anyone else for what their lives have become.
Blakistone, Sarah Elizabeth, "Mutilatto. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2003.