The wind off the river

Mcnulty, Petra (2020) The wind off the river. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This PhD is in two parts. The first, is an 80,000-word short story cycle, The Wind off the River, which recounts the life of the central character, Dee Morgan, who is very loosely based on my grandmother, Nellie Evans. Fourteen different characters relate this fictional biography of Dee's life from her birth in 1900 to her death in 1973. Inhabiting the spaces between the stories are various documents that Dee left behind after her death. The Wind off the River will be a vehicle to explore the working-class woman's place in society during this period of unprecedented change for women. It will seek to do this through considering the possible reasons why the real Dee Morgan – Nellie Evans – may have abandoned her children at the height of World War Two, choosing instead, a life of penury and solitude, dying alone thirty years later. This short story cycle is accompanied by a 20,000-word exegesis which explores the issues that have arisen from my creative practice and also shows how, through reflexive practice, the book has in turn been altered by the reflective journal. The essay will examine ethical issues involved in fictionalising a real woman’s life as well as the difficulty in navigating the moral contradictions between my grandmother's desire for freedom and the effects her abandonment had on her children. It will consider the challenges of writing a short story cycle driven by an absent present protagonist as well as the deliberations involved in giving her a presence in the book via a series of ‘discovered’ artefacts. It will examine how the writing technique and structure of the book express narrative multivalence with regards to Dee's character. Finally, it will look at how a protagonist who drives the book forward by her present absence can suggest a metaphor for the relationship of me, the author to my own work.

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Thesis (PhD)
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17 Feb 2020 09:20
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:40