Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. John J. McKenna


Introduction: I stumbled upon the form of the familiar essay by chance, Dr. John McKenna, out Graduate Chair and the Chair of my Thesis Committee, suggested I enroll in a course called Modern Familiar Essay. I was skeptical. At the time, I was fairly burned out on writing, and besides: creative nonfiction? That’s memoirs and stuff, right? Failed journalists ghostwriting for professional athletes. If I was going to write, I was going to be a serious writer. Fiction, the Great American Novel, that sort of thing. This was more or less my frame of mine when I talked to Dr. McKenna; the familiar essay wasn’t something I was particularly interested in at the time, but, since I needed three more credits that summer, I took the class.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of English and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2003 Sherman Sutherland