Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing


Theatre Arts

Major Advisor

Martin Corless-Smith, Ph.D.


Janet Holmes, M.F.A.


Kerri Webster, M.F.A.


The massively multiplayer online role playing game, World of Warcraft follows many leveling systems that spoon-feeds its players a steady and carefully calculated sense of progression, control, and power. This is part of what makes the game so appealing, as well as the intricate character creation and vast community-based elements. Millions of players share this world of Warcraft, as if it were its own real world (and in a way it is), and they do so with characters they’ve created and customized. What furthers this connection between player and character, and player and player, is how their characters move and act in accordance to the input provided by the players on their keyboard and mouse.

“Circle Drive” examines the illusion of World of Warcraft’s progression, success, and control of characters through roles, by pairing it alongside a turbulent family dynamic. It spirals through the "story" of a family of three (mother, father, and son) where the teenage son becomes dependent on World of Warcraft, eventually teaches his Mother how to play, then the Mother becomes addicted as well, finds a boyfriend through the game, has an affair, splits from her husband, moves away, and the house is eventually foreclosed and left to rot.

The pastoral lyric is used in section five titled “Foreclosure” as a way of encapsulating the nostalgia of a speaker coming back to their childhood home covered in weeds. The spiral orientation of moving, but being stuck, as if a person is spinning round in circles is representative of a player addicted to WoW. They are doing something, in that they are playing the game, and they think they are making progress and success, but its only successful to the people in the game. Once the game is taken away, there’s just a person who sat for hours in a chair. Repetition of form and words highlight that obsessive insanity as well.

Video games create an illusion of linearity, with their leveling system, and many stories follow that system as well; however, “Circle Drive” shies away from that impulse and instead relies on the lyric and improperly ordered sequences to emphasize placelessness.


The presentation of the document was updated on March 30, 2019.



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