Type of Document Dissertation Author Anderson, Forrest URN etd-05282009-134708 Title Hoop Dancing: A Novella and Seven Stories Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department English, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Robert Olen Butler Committee Chair Julianna Baggott Committee Member Kathleen Yancey Committee Member Elna Green Outside Committee Member Keywords
- Short Fiction
Date of Defense 2009-05-27 Availability restricted AbstractThis collection of short fiction, Hoop Dancing: A Novella and Seven Stories, focuses on working class men and women living in eastern North Carolina. The majority of the characters are a single generation removed from the family farms and cotton mills where their parents and grandparents worked. The characters speak in their own voices about their struggles to adapt to a region that is quickly changing economically, ethnically, and socially. This lends the collection a post-agrarian style with hints of naturalism.
In the title novella, Hoop Dancing, for example, the sins of the father hamstring the son’s free will. Thomas Soundingsides, in a series of three linked short stories—“Coupons,” “Hoop Dancing,” and “The Physics of Basketball”—struggles to understand his own identity in relation to his father’s. The relationship between fathers and sons or fathers and daughters drives the action in three other stories—“Hey Bubba,” Velocity,” and “Bonds.” In “Hey Bubba,” the father of a child attempts to understand what in his own makeup contributed to his son’s Down’s syndrome. In “Bonds” and “Velocity,” the influence of fathers and fate loom large in the characters’ imagination.
The remaining three stories of the collection experiment with narrative structure and are largely voice-driven. The story, “The Battle Home,” explores a consciousness altered by Alzheimer’s while simultaneously playing with structure and point of view. “Playing Outside” jumps feet-first into the flash fiction genre, along with the lyrical story, “The Ordinary Sounds of Nighttime.” And, in “Fat,” a first-person narrator co-opts the narrative strategy of postmodernism—namely, disjointed narrative and self-reflexivity—to tell a modernist-styled story about her struggles with weight. In the end, the character creates an experimental manifesto against experimental fiction.
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