The Dead Land

Date of Award


Document Type

Bibliographic Record

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Nancy Holder

Second Advisor

Mur Lafferty

Third Advisor

Justin Tussing


There are three pieces in this thesis, each of which is a unique tale of dark fantasy. One element that links the pieces together is the setting. Each story has at least one setting that is based on or inspired by real towns in Maine, including St. Agatha, Bangor, and Millinocket. Cyr Cove, the town where part of Cut Throat takes place, is based on St. Agatha but is not a real town. The small-town settings evoke desolation, a mood that makes imperative contributions to the pieces.

The themes explored in the stories reflect their gloomy tones. Death is a focal point of The Dead Land. Specifically, the work tackles the death of a loved one, a theme many readers may have experienced before. Love is a recurring theme in The Dead Land, as well as “Lady of the Lake” and Cut Throat. The lengths one will go to for their family is what motivates Elizabeth, the protagonist of Cut Throat.

Well-known figures from mythology, like Death (who is similar to Hades, the king of the Underworld) play significant roles in the stories. In Cut Throat, Elizabeth is based on Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian countess and a prominent persona in vampire mythology.


This is a closed-access thesis and the record is restricted to bibliographic information only.

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