Title

Offbeat

Date of Award

6-18-2021

Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing

First Advisor

Nicole Markotić

Keywords

Coming of Age Narratives, Cure Narratives, Disability Studies, Short Stories

Rights

info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess

Abstract

Offbeat is a collection of interconnected short stories that follows Annabella Tocco, a young flute player with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), from ages eleven to eighteen. These seven stories explore the effects of Annabella’s OCD on her relationship with her family, her school, her job, her Catholic faith, and her music, both before and after she receives a formal diagnosis and begins therapy. While each story remains structured around an epiphany that Annabella experiences in relation to her OCD, her music, or her own self-perception, the interconnectedness of the collection allows these epiphanies to evade a sense of “closure” at the end of each story as they demonstrate their long-lasting effects on Annabella in subsequent stories. Notably, the lack of narrative “closure” alongside each epiphany resists the traditional literary trope of the “cure” of disabled characters and/or characters with mental illness. After Annabella realizes her desire to seek treatment to counter her growing distress, subsequent stories set post-therapy feature the fluctuation of her “progress” with managing her symptoms. Offbeat presents a coming-of-age narrative in which Annabella learns to accept that her management of her OCD symptoms will remain continuous and, like the music she plays, will emotionally affect her beyond the final moment in which the story rests.

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