Award Date

5-15-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English

First Committee Member

Douglas A. Unger

Second Committee Member

Maile Chapman

Third Committee Member

Jose R. Orduna

Fourth Committee Member

Paul Werth

Number of Pages

132

Abstract

In writing the immigrant narratives, the writer turned to the work of Junot Díaz, Amy Tan, Justin Torres, Sandra Cisneros, Lisa Ko, Juan Martinez, and Yelena Akhtiorskaya. Some of the books by these writers also served as examples of successful interlinked collections. While many of the stories in the collection are realistic, about half are fabulist. For those stories, the writer read Aimee Bender, Kelly Link, Manuel Gonzales, and the Hungarian writer Ilka PappZakor, to name a few. Few short story collections in the American tradition mix magical realism and immigrant narratives like Milk Teeth and Other Stories. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah was one example the author found that provided a blueprint for how to set immigrants and/or foreigners in a fabulist landscape.

While several Hungarian-American nonfiction writers have written about Hungarian-American experiences in English to wide acclaim, such as Kati Marton and Susan Faludi, there is no strong Hungarian-American literary tradition in American fiction as of now. Milk Teeth and Other Stories gives voice to Hungarian and Hungarian-American women in fictional, sometimes magical stories. The story “Motherland” gives voice to Hungary itself, who narrates Kitti’s and her mother Margit’s visit back home to their country of origin, but the country also expresses her disdain for the politics of modern-day Hungary. Other stories in the collection, fabulist and realist alike, likewise address the state of the refugee crisis in Hungary, namely “Motherland,” “Budapest, 2015,” and “Milk Teeth.” As the stories center on women’s experiences, nearly all of the stories illuminate the treatment of women in the American and Hungarian private and public spheres.

Keywords

Budapest; Hungarian; Hungarians; Hungary; Immigrant; Immigration

Disciplines

Creative Writing

Language

English

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