Date of Award

8-8-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Scott Heath

Second Advisor

Tanya Caldwell

Third Advisor

Jay Rajiva

Abstract

This thesis broadly explores river imagery, which undergirds narrative, plot, and character trajectory in Melvin Dixon’s Trouble the Water. In the novel, the Pee Dee River, with its multi-directional flow, reflects the personal journey of the protagonist, Jordan Henry, and figures as a spatialized metaphor by which time and space are organized and articulated. Additionally, this thesis identifies correlations between river imagery and articulations of trauma and trauma recovery in the novel. Ultimately, this thesis argues that via Jordan’s simultaneous geographical and psychological, literal and symbolic journey, the novel offers an African-centered spiritual framework for moving through and healing from trauma.

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