Make it Do or Do Without: A Collection of Poems and Folk Memoirs

Open Access
Author:
Maines, Kaylie Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
English
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Robert D. Hume, Thesis Supervisor
  • Marcy North, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • English
  • Poetry
  • Poem
  • Poems
  • American Dream
  • Rural America
  • Pennsylvania
  • Experience
  • Identity
  • Family
Abstract:
The objective of this body of work is to explore the boundaries, divides, and overlap of fact and narrative within rural American life. In drawing from my personal and family histories, I have developed a series of poems and recollections representative of life in rural America, addressing the contradictions of wanting to remain rooted to family and wishing to expand beyond the environment of one’s upbringing. Essentially, these poems attempt to “unpack” the concepts related to the national narratives surrounding the American Experience in order to expose and explore both current and latent social systems and reveal the human experiences lost within a standardized national narrative. In exploring my own psyche in relation to my family’s history, these pieces aim to lend a voice to others from similar backgrounds and communicate their common anxieties, struggles, and reluctances in relation to transcending social classes without severing their ties to family, history, or origin. My interest is in exploring the moments when the narratives of a family’s shared past, projected futures, or the reality surrounding the concept of the American Dream might differ or clash, and how identity is formed in these environments. Which accounts did each of us take to heart and incorporate into our personal histories? How might the variations in what is supposedly a shared history affect our ambitions or our opinions of the American Experience?