Document Type



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor's Name

Julie Marie Wade

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

John Dufresne

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Vernon Dickson

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Creative Writing

Date of Defense



Mothers of Sparta is a collection of thirteen personal essays that examine place—knowing one’s place, and finding one’s place in the world. The narrative arc chronicles the narrator’s childhood, young adulthood, marriage and child rearing years, ultimately encompassing the difficulties of raising a child who, due to brain damage, faces an uncertain future.

As the narrator grows older, place shifts from a concrete knowledge of the physical world around her, to learning her place within gendered and regional social constructs, and defining her place through roles such as wife, mother, student and writer.

These essays are diverse in style. Woven throughout is a theme of violence, weighted with visceral language: the violence of accident and death, the violence that occurs in nature and in domestic spaces, and the violence that often goes unnoticed because we live in a violent world.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

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