Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




David Kress

Second Committee Member

Burton Hatlen

Third Committee Member

Alex Irvine


In Union is essentially the first third of a larger work, a collection of short stories about a fictionalized town in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Widely known for its Amish and Mennonite legacy, this region is defined by tradition and religion, is intensely loyal tb social conservatism, and is generally skeptical of most government intervention. The people who live there frame their lives around hard work, family values, and certainty. The stories are presented in a shifting, journalistic tone. The narrator is a writer for a local newspaper, and usually discusses the characters from third person, very much like a news article or feature story. He is well-informed in most cases, and creates a narrative from information that could be gathered through interviews. Much like most reporters, he is occasionally prone to embellishment and editorial. The intention of this collection is to create a varied and comprehensive portrait of this town in light of several contemporary issues, largely concerning the interactions between religion, state, and education and with an overarching interest in control. These interactions create conflicts, and the characters in In Union do not shy away from them. Perhaps confrontation is in their blood.