Term of Award

Spring 2021

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

Kendra R. Parker

Committee Member 1

Lindsey Chappell

Committee Member 2

Hapsatou Wane

Committee Member 3

Elizabeth Desnoyers-Colas

Committee Member 3 Email



This thesis uses the language and structure of Roxane Gay’s Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, in tandem with other works of literature, to examine the relationship between Blackness, fatness, womanhood, and trauma. Among other things, this thesis attempts to draw a connection between Deborah King’s concept of multiple jeopardy and the lived experiences of several different traumas. Also, this these works to highlight the usefulness of the memoir genre as teaching tool in classrooms with students of all ages. I ague that Gay’s memoir is a subversion of the typical weight-loss memoir and is instead a social commentary on the ways trauma lives and manifests in the body, as well as the way American society dictates what trauma is and how Black women, specifically, should handle it. Literary scholars may be able to use the findings of this thesis to further interrogate the troubling systems America has created an upheld for women who are both fat and Black by analyzing other memoirs for their language and structure in addition to their content. Pedagogical scholars may be able to find use in one of the arguments I make in this thesis: that memoir is a useful teaching tool because it is both hyper-personal and universal.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material