EULOGY : A thesis presented in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Creative Writing (MCW) at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
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This thesis is concerned with writing fragmented narrative and it asks how the ‘space in between’ can connect the progression of fragments in fictional works. It explores how the assembling of fragments in fictional narrative can contribute to the whole becoming greater than simply a sum of its parts. Informing the writing process is a study of the effects of spatially driven narrative. The thesis consists of two parts: The novella, Eulogy, evokes the emotional complexities encountered by a woman delivering a eulogy for her partner. The accompanying exegesis discusses the research surrounding the writing of Eulogy and examines how novels by Patricia Grace and Lisa Moore also represent loss, showing how spatial form can work in the structure of fragmented narrative to convey such things as state of mind and the circularity of life-experience. Loss is universal, but how an individual experiences and deals with it is very much the result of circumstance and personal history, and this is what I aimed to explore in Eulogy. The novella consists of a number of non-chronological fragments which accumulate, connect and layer, building towards an understanding of all the narrator has lost, and how these losses are experienced in relation to each other. As insight into the specificity of the narrator’s response and feelings develops over the course of the novella, so too does the complexity of her relationship with Dean, the partner who has died, building towards the underlying sense that the novella is itself also a eulogy. My supporting exegesis draws on Joseph Frank’s theory of spatial form to examine how Patricia Grace’s Baby No-Eyes and Lisa Moore’s February also pivot around the theme of loss,. By mapping the fragmented structure of the novels, I set out to analyse how the spaces between fragments work in these works and to explore the cognitive and thematic links that bridge them. Examining a singular fragment in detail, I asked how space and time are used to propel each narrative. I then expanded my enquiry to the relationship of these single fragments with the fragments on either side. The exegesis concludes with a discussion of how I applied this strategy to my own creative process in Eulogy, questioning how the connections between and within fragments could contribute to the intricacy and unity of the overall novella. To a certain degree, the process of this thesis was itself an exploration of spatial form and fragmented narrative. The creative component and research were built incrementally and each was informed by the other. The pieces pushed and pulled, fed off and challenged one other as I progressed, making sense of both fragments and spaces to coalesce them into a cohesive whole.
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::Aesthetic subjects::Literature