Until the Breaking of Day: Stories from Penuel County, Georgia (thesis)
The most important thing to me in this collection is the presence of religion. I came up with the name of the setting of my short stories long before I had even decided that I wanted to write a senior thesis. In a “Bible as English Literature” class I took at the beginning of my freshman year, I remember being transfixed by the story of Jacob in Genesis. The image of his wrestling with God on the banks of the Jabbok is evocative, stirring, disturbing, and perplexing. Why would God come down—in the form of an angel or a man, depending on which translation you read—and wrestle with Jacob? Why wrestle? How did Jacob have the strength to wrestle until daybreak? Why’d God have to break his hip? Was there actually a wrestling match or is it all a metaphor? In spite of one’s beliefs, the story is fascinating. Religion is the lifeblood of the South. It’s what people are raised on and it’s everywhere one looks. It makes the South pure but it also taints it irrevocably. Christianity pervades everything: what Southerners say, what they think, how they act. Even if they are not religious they are still surrounded by religion. The many controversial topics that are alight in Christian texts and beliefs are muted and hushed into the background. Race, sexuality, moral behavior, family dynamics, and a slew of other hot topics are covered in the Bible, but they’re only mentioned by followers if they fit in with one’s viewpoint. . . . [From concluding section]
Thesis; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE FOLLOWING A 1-YEAR EMBARGO]Caroline L. Sanders is a member of the Class of 2017 of Washington and Lee University.