Thesis

When we must walk in darkness

When We Must Walk in Darkness is a memoir beginning with a Critical Introduction, followed by a collection of vignettes, each one representing a significant moment after my son Tyler’s 2002 near-fatal motorcycle accident. In the Critical Introduction, I reference Phillip Lopate’s “double perspective” and illustrate how the work portrays my prior and present intelligences. In addition, I distinguish ways in which the writing exemplifies Mary Karr’s definition of interiority. The trauma recovery narrative at tempts to engage the themes of grief, familial distress, and acceptance. Depicting ways in which I endure and overcome calamity, the collection develops me as a character by portraying my inner conflict and how my past informs my choices as a mother. The stories characterize Tyler as I share anecdotes intended to represent who he was before the accident. As a form, the vignette allows me to capture distinct memories and reconstruct them, threading a tapestry of individual moments and portraying my distinct perspective as Tyler’s mother. One of the strongest emerging themes is how I learn to cope by compartmentalizing each experience, living entirely in the moment. Amnesty International’s motto, “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness,” exemplifies what this work hopes to accomplish. Though the collection originates from my life experience, the stories relate to a larger audience as they attempt to convey a common humanity where each individual must grapple with life’s misfortunes and discover ways to “light a candle” rather than “curse the darkness.”

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