Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Committee Member

Douglas Unger

Number of Pages



In order to complete the University of Nevada Las Vegas English Department's Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree, a student must complete 54 hours of graduate course work related to creative writing, literature, and international study. In addition, the student is expected to devote 12 credit hours to a culminating work of publishable quality. To fulfill the requirements of my MFA Thesis, I am composing a novel entitled, " Manifest Destiny.";The novel, as indicated in the title, is meant to intuit a commentary on the westward migration of European settlers in the United States. The main character, Dominic Rossi, grows up in Philadelphia---a city built around its history---but by the end of the novel he makes his personal trek west to America beyond the Rocky Mountains, a part of the country in which he feels less inhibited by historical expectation, fulfilling an individual destiny; The novel begins with Dominic Rossi working with his father in the enterprise of stealing cars, but he gets caught after stealing the car of a girl named Laura Shelley. When his father is sent to jail, he moves in with his mother on the outskirts of town and ends up in the same school district as Laura Shelley. They become attracted to each other, and when Dominic reports the girl's name to his mother, she reacts by indicating a greater history between the families. Dominic later discovers that his mother had an affair with Laura's father, Dr. Shelley; Ten years later, Dominic and Laura's paths cross again and their union is inevitable, despite their history. Dominic has given up stealing cars and has become a history teacher. Laura discovers other things about Dominic along the way, and the relationship is complicated by her father's intervention and Dominic's indiscretions. By the end of the novel, Dominic is forced to make a decision: become a part of the Shelley family---which can trace its history on the continent back to the Mayflower---or escape and head west to reunite with his father; As Dominic develops an intellectual interest in the westward migration, with a special interest in the concept of Manifest Destiny, he realizes that his path is not dependent upon societal trends but rather individual. And his decision in the end of the novel to steal a car and drive west fulfills a personal, manifest destiny.


Destiny; Manifest; Novel; Original writing

Controlled Subject

American literature; Literature, Modern

File Format


File Size

6502.4 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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