Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Writing & Linguistics (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Jared Yates Sexton


Okay is a minimalistic literary fiction short story cycle that examines the lives of Collin and Charlotte Grearson, two children who grow up with a working class status in a broken home, and their journeys to adulthood as they both respectively cope with their underlying mental health problems. The stories in Okay exemplify how refusal to seek help for a mental health problem, or the lack of support from others even if the illness is communicated, can cause a disconnect between family members, the worsening of the illness itself, and the eventual possibility of fatal conclusions. Okay is composed as a fictional piece but is influenced by components of scientific and literary research to confirm the validity of its themes, and to suggest at contemporary applications of the information presented. The stories take place in chronological order, though significant periods of time are skipped and indicated by three section breaks, respectively titled “Youth,” “Pinnacle,” and “Outcome.” Okay is inspired by authors Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, Anne Beattie, and William Faulkner, and is similar in form because of its minimalistic style and use of the short story cycle structure as popularized by Hemingway. The cycle is instituted in “3:24 AM,” the final story of the collection that introduces character Rodney as a potential reincarnation of the unsuccessful choices made by both Collin and Charlotte Grearson in their pasts.

Included in

Fiction Commons