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

Braden Udall, M.F.A.


Mitch Wieland, M.F.A.


Rick Bass, B.S.


Anthony Doer, M.F.A.


A mysterious letter summons Helen Starbird, and her granddaughter, Laramie, to a dying mill town on the shores of Lake Umbagog. Together, the two women—who leave vastly different lives mired in similarly hopeless ruts—return to the Northwoods. A New Hampshire fire tower where Helen posted during WWII, and the sight of a forbidden romance and life-altering tragedy, pivots from secret to obsession, and getting there progresses from dream to necessity. On the way, they confront private traumas, and volatile forces of prejudice, oppression, and environmental despoliation that have smoldered for centuries. Will they uncover festering family wounds, end the legacy of hate, and so heal their relationships with each other and the forests, or will the past repeat itself? This journey weaves contemporary tensions with brutal secrets that haunt mountains, forests, waters, and bodies, dead and alive.


At the behest of the Department of Theatre, Film, and Creative Writing, the document available on this record only contains the front matter and first chapter of the corresponding thesis. The document in its entirety is not available for general viewing.

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