Finding universal meaning in the short stories of Edna O'Brien : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)

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Okrzesik, Heather Marie
Edmonds, Joanne H.
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Thesis (B.?.)
Honors College
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Although written from the female perspective and showing the influence of Irish Catholic roots, Edna O'Brien's works of short fiction reach many audiences. The topics and issues covered in her stories are universal; that is, males as well as females coming from vastly different religious and ethnic backgrounds, and of various generations, can gain knowledge and understanding through O'Brien's fiction writing.This study focuses on the responses and reactions of nine individuals who volunteered to read one of the following three O'Brien stories, "Epitaph," "What A Sky," and "Sister Imelda," fill in a short biographical information sheet, and answer a series of open-ended questions. After a brief introduction to O'Brien is given, each of these three works will be looked at in turn. A basic plot summary will be given followed by an "expert" analysis of each selection based on my own reactions, knowledge, and research as well as my replies to the same questions posed to the nine volunteer readers. Pertinent biographical background information for each individual will be given preceding his or her reactions and responses to the reading. Finally a comparison of the reactions to the stories will be made with emphasis on similar conclusions, answers, and/or replies given by individuals of diverse backgrounds.