Term of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Literature

Committee Chair

Olivia Carr Edenfield

Committee Member 1

Dustin Anderson

Committee Member 2

Joseph Pellegrino


Over the last couple of centuries, the American short-story genre became characterized by its observations of life and human nature—specifically by using scenes of nature to highlight characters’ development and the underlying theme. While much critical attention has been given to the role of nature in the American short-story cycle, very little consideration has been given to the purpose of trees and their specific breeds within the genre. This project focuses on three distinct pedagogical approaches to analyzing trees in three short-story cycles. Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of the rhizome and Freud’s theory of dream-thoughts are applied to Mary Wilkins Freeman’s Six Trees (1903) to understand the significance of the distinct breeds. A close reading of the interactions of only three characters—George Willard, Elizabeth Willard, and Doctor Reefy—with trees is employed for Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio (1919), which suggests the ultimate success or failure of each character’s relationships. The analysis of Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time (1930) is further narrowed by examining only the character of Nick Adams and how the woods as a collective provide solace, while the specific breeds reveal his inner struggles and true feelings.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material