Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Alex Benson

Abstract/Artist's Statement

In retrospect, I suppose I always knew my senior thesis would tackle my questions concerning regional identities, human difference, effects of displacement, and affinity for the natural world. If Ahab hadn’t jumped ship, I probably would’ve spent the eighty pages chasing Melville’s white whale; similarly, I debated writing about Mark Twain’s Huck Finn floating down the Mississippi. I am eternally stricken by the crafting of serenity and freedom of their boundless landscapes. Instead, I decided to explore literary representations of my familiar places, motivated by a deep-rooted love for the Pacific Northwest. I approached my thesis with a topic instead of an author, and found it surprisingly hard to gather materials concerning a Northwestern regional body of work. I did not intend for the better half of my thesis to be a historicization, but it seems like the region’s late emergence of distinctive voice could only be traced to the fact that it was the last western frontier, and an industrial rather than an agrarian one at that. I picked Gary Snyder to conclude my essay as a contemporary example of Northwestern voice, having stumbled across him during my semester in San Francisco and finding comfort in his subtle references of my Home-Place.

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