Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Communications

First Advisor

Michael Castro

Second Advisor

Harry Jackson

Third Advisor

Glenn Irwin


This thesis focuses on a fictional depiction of life in the small town of Marion. Illinois in the 1930s and 40s. Each summer throughout my childhood, I spent several weeks visiting my Grandmother, Bertha Kelsey, and Aunt, Dorothy Odum, who live in Marion, Illinois. Spending the balance of the year living in the suburbs of St. Louis, I found Marion a very different world from the one I knew.

This story, in large part, was inspired by my memories of Marion as well as the memories my mother, Rosemary Doerner, has shared with me about growing up in Marion. Any similarity between the characters and incidents in the story and actual people and events is strictly coincidental. The following is a general outline for the story:

Setting: Marion, Illinois I 930s through mid 40s.

Sense of Place: A small southern Illinois town. Grammaw Kelsey and Aunt Dot were both very involved in the Marion, Illinois community. Through them, I met many of the residents.

Plot: I wanted to tell about real people, some tragic, some strong, all with a mix of personality traits, both good and bad (my humble way of trying to imitate Shakespeare).

Main Characters: Anise and her mother represent the poverty stricken people my grandmother and mother encountered as they worked for President Franklin Roosevelt's Social Reform Program during the Great Depression. I wanted someone to rise above the sadness and neglect, thus came the main character, Robert Forester. Grammaw Netty is my Grammaw Kelsey and Aunt Dot combined. Doctor Forester, Robert's father, is a complex man who remains somewhat of a mystery throughout the story.

Point of View: Third person.

Voice: Mine, trying to depict the richness of life, the humor, the sadness and the strength and determination of these fictional people of Marion.

Writing mainstream literature, or stories about everyday people and everyday events, has always been a challenge for me. The genres: mystery, romance, science fiction and horror seemed to be more assured of holding the readers' interest. But for this culminating project l decided to put away the crutches of genre and rely solely on the diversity in human nature to carry the story. I've enjoyed the challenge and am surprised by the wide range of topics everyday life presents.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License