Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

ORCID

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0483-614X

Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Program

English

Degree Type

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2021

Month Degree Awarded

September

Keywords

poetry, prose, fiction, autofiction, memoir

DOI

https://doi.org/10.7275/23276095

Abstract

"a testament to sacrilege" is an autofiction that handles queer identity, monstrosity, religious trauma, and mental illness. Refusing to bend into traditional narrative structure, the work instead fluctuates between the known and the not-known; a work that acts as wet cloth in either a balm or a drowning. What makes a monster? What does it mean to be good?

Weaving narrative prose, essay writing, and memoir, “a testament to sacrilege” follows three phases in the life of the narrator and Mouse - a dissociative state the narrator is able to access only through trauma. Focused on the power of feminine relationships in the face of violence, the 40,000-word collage uses erasure text to simulate the experience of OCD as it is felt by the author. While the work is necessarily delicate, it is also hopeful - Mouse and the narrator learn to work through recovery. While the narrator is inevitably able to overcome her past, “a testament to sacrilege” is not interested in the specifics of suffering: instead, it is interested in what it takes to survive that suffering.

The initial opening to “a testament of sacrilege” was the recipient of the 2021 Harvey Swados Fiction award.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

signature page.pdf (184 kB)
Additional copy of signature page

Available for download on Tuesday, September 01, 2026

Share

COinS