Title

Heatholm

Date of Award

5-2013

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Advisor

Greg Howard

Second Committee Member

Dave Kress

Third Committee Member

Elizabeth Neiman

Abstract

This thesis is a short novella, experimental in form, written from the first-person perspective of a young painter in a dystopian society. The post-apocolyptic city of Heatholm represents an old-world aesthetic to residents of the unnamed country’s capital city. However, it is not clear what precise time period Heatholm is meant to represent. The narrator is a resident of the “Home for Young Artists,” an institution housing young people who are allowed to work on their chosen art form half of the time while working menial jobs in the city the other half of the time. All work created in the Home is supposed to be “timeless”—like Heatholm itself—though this term is left mostly undefined. Residents of the Home are recruited from rural villages that are assumed to be untouched by modernization. The Young Artists, then, are supposed to be unfamiliar with contemporary life in the Capital—they are thought to be, in some sense, authentic “Old World” people, Heatholm their “Old World” city. In reality, Heatholm is a motley conglomeration of artifacts from eras past, which is why Capital Officials, with the assistance of Capital Artists, implement a “revitalization” meant to straighten out the period décor and streamline the beaurecratic practices of Heatholm and the Home for Young Artists. Caught in the midst of this “revitalization” and in a love triangle of sorts with her two best friends at the Home, the narrator recounts her time in Heatholm through the lens of her own memories, both of the Home and of her childhood in the coastal village of Wethensy. As the Home grows increasingly chaotic, the narrative becomes increasingly fractured, the text eventually taking on the form of the flotsam and fragments resulting from the flood that carries the narrator out of Heatholm and back home to the coast.

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