Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

English

First Advisor

Elisabeth Sheffield

Abstract

Approximately Men is the first section of a novel. It explores queer masculinities, femininities, and the liminal spaces that foster self-actualization. The voice in this piece attempts to reconcile the individual with the expectations of that individual, and does its best to not intervene. The following is an excerpt:

“You know,” Andrew said before letting out a breath of smoke. “I really do like Kerouac. He spends pages just listing the things he sees, like rotting peanut butter and empty boxes of Tide detergent. I can’t imagine those were fun bits to read at the time he wrote them, but they’re so interesting now, a few generations later, thinking of what trash surrounded people so long ago. I want to live my life with his awareness. Nicholas might be right that we all just try to live out other people’s great stories, but I can’t bring myself to believe that’s bad. Sometimes in order to have an exciting day, you just have to convince yourself to perceive it that way. I don’t think it’s a crime for us to take a shitty life and convince ourselves it’s amazing.”

Ethan took the joint from Andrew’s hand, and then slipped his free hand into Andrew’s and sucked a mouthful of adventure into his lungs as he sat on a warm rock and felt the hairs on the insides of his thighs start to crisp and stopped thinking about his place in the world, letting just enough room into his mind for him to think instead about the things in life that exist only for a moment but last so much longer before he let go of Andrew’s hand and lay his own across his naked lap.

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