The Priceless One

Joleen Elizabeth Long, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


For this thesis, I am writing a novel, titled The Priceless One, which uses the bildungsroman arc to tell the story of Jenna, a twenty-one year old woman who becomes a stripper. The novel follows her first year of stripping, as well as her familial, romantic, and sexual relationships.

I read several nonfiction books about stripping, such as Danielle Egan, Katherine Frank, and Merri Lisa Johnson’s Flesh for Fantasy and Frank’s G-Strings and Sympathy. I also read Diablo Cody’s memoir Candy Girl and Diana Atkinson’s novel Highways and Dancehalls. I viewed several films, including Michael Radford’s Dancing at the Blue Iguana.

The novel uses the themes of fantasy, reality, the ideal, and spectacle, how power dynamics shift between those realms, and how money complicates the relationships between and in them. Because of these fluctuating lenses of reality and fantasy, I use first person past tense and second person present tense to represent those lenses. First person past tense also represents how Jenna feels she is supposed to see the world. Second person present tense represents how Jenna moves through the world in her own imagination of herself.

The Priceless One shows that desire, in its many forms, is often more complicated than one first thinks, especially when examining his or her own desires.