Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2018

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




David C. Kress

Second Committee Member

Naomi Jacobs

Third Committee Member

Steven Evans


The Swallow Dance is a novella which examines the chronically ill body in a moment of crisis. The narrative draws on trauma theory to dissect the main character’s reactions to an ill body. Eve, the novella’s narrator, is thrust into this space where her mind and body are at a discord because of a chronic illness. As part of her treatment, Eve cannot eat or drink. This destabilizes her from her traumatized body. The farther Eve disassociates from her condition, the more she feels like something is watching her. Then, she is contacted by a messenger from a different place. He persuades her to visit Tortureland as an escape from her hospital room. In Tortureland, Eve can eat, drink, and do whatever she would like, but she must pay a price. Her guest pass to the park has a time limit, and she must choose between the hospital and Tortureland. Eventually, she rejects the “realness” of her hospitalization and trauma in favor of the slightly less traumatizing place. She joins The Tortured and finds her wings for her great escape.

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