Half: a novel and the corresponding thesis: between memoir and fiction

New, Rachel (2017). Half: a novel and the corresponding thesis: between memoir and fiction. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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\(Half\) is a dual narrative following the stories of sisters Sadie and Hannah on a less than harmonious trip round the Western States of America, and Olive Oatman, a fourteen-year-old girl captured by Native Americans in 1851. Olive’s account of servitude and acculturation with the Mohave Indians is in fact the fictionalisation of a memoir, told through a journal Sadie acquires. While the modern narrative in \(Half\) is also based extensively on biographical content, the resulting novel is most definitely fiction.
The accompanying research explores the point at which memoir and fiction intersect, asking if there is ever absolute truth or absolute fiction when utilising one’s own experiences as a framework for a narrative. Using evidence from historians it examines the extent to which the key texts discussed in the Thesis, classified as Memoir or Fiction, can be seen to occupy the middle ground between both tropes. It also looks at how the novel \(Half\) incorporates a complex range of personal experience and imaginative explorations through its key themes of otherness, sisterly relationships and the role of fathers – and how the two narrative strands dovetail in both obvious and unpredictable ways to express the dark subtext of the novel.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of Film and Creative Writing
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/7860


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