Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English/Creative Writing

First Advisor

Daphne Kalotay

Second Advisor

John Fulton

Third Advisor

Joyce Peseroff


From the beaches and backyards of Cape Cod to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, a boxing gym, and a family farm in Paris, New York, A PRIVATE GAME is a collection of thematically-linked stories exploring the public and private illusions that perpetuate social class division, gender norms and racism in the twenty-first century.

A fifteen year-old girl starting her first summer job as a lifeguard feels betrayed by her alcoholic mother's attempts to fit in with the wealthier families who summer on Cape Cod. A misguided high-school grad moves into the "party" house next door after he refuses to go on to college and his parents refuse to accept that he is gay. A grown daughter returns to the farm she grew up on and must confront the truth of her dead mother's past as she struggles to admit to her father the demise of her own marriage. A biracial young man looks for love as he works as a guard at the city art museum but when he falls for the museum director's bipolar daughter he finds love is much more complicated than at first glance.

No longer content to play by someone else's rules, these characters must recognize and revise the rules of such `private games' -- the narratives they believed were the only ones which could secure them safety, love, and acceptance.


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