Publication Date

April 2017

Advisor(s)

Marguerite Nguyen

Major

English

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Between the Blood Orange and Kumquat Trees is a collection of four interrelated short stories narrated by different characters in the aftermath of two deaths. Ben and Lydia Adler have three children who are nineteen, fourteen, and six years old at the time of their deaths. The eldest child, Dahlia (19), becomes the guardian for her younger siblings–– Chloe (14) and Iggy (6)–– and leaves college to resume this job with the help of her boyfriend Olly. The first story takes place five and a half years after Ben and Lydia’s death and is narrated by Dahlia. The second and third stories take place three years after the events in the first story, and are respectively narrated by the children’s godmother, Jane, and Iggy, the youngest child. Chloe narrates the final story, which takes place two years after the second and third stories. The collection thus spans the first decade of the characters’ lives without Ben and Lydia. In the thesis, I explore how grief and memory mediate and relate to each other, how past affects present, and how a shared experience uniquely affects individuals. The characters grieve in different ways, rewrite relationships, histories, and past opinions to varying degrees, and struggle to develop a holistic relationship to their loss: how to mourn when moving on is necessary to live?

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