Date Thesis Awarded

5-2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

English

Advisor

Mary Ann Melfi

Committee Member

Susan Donaldson

Committee Member

Chelsey Johnson

Committee Member

Meghan Sinton

Abstract

Author, historian, and conservationist Wallace Stegner is woefully understudied due to his reputation as a Western American novelist concerned primarily with an environmentalist agenda. A close analysis of three of Stegner’s texts demonstrates that his literary genius supersedes many preconceived notions about his works. “A Field Guide to the Western Birds,” All the Little Live Things, and The Spectator Bird focus on protagonist Joe Allston, and demonstrate that Stegner uses natural imagery and psychological character development in ways similar to early Romantic writers in that he examines the relationship between internal mental environments and external physical environments. In order to analyze Allston’s journey from repressed, adolescent-minded curmudgeon to mentally integrated and emotionally aware mature adult in Stegner’s stories, I apply Carl Jung’s theories on the individual unconscious and synchronicity—or acausal connections—to prove that Allston undergoes minor and major psychological conversion experiences, as defined by philosopher and psychologist William James.

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