AuthorLeroy, Rachel Van Horn
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The poems in this thesis chronicle continuous attempts to return home spiritually, emotionally, and literally through various cycles of existence. I trace the layered metaphor “going home” through the entire collection. The first stage starts at home, where all journeys start. I include childhood poems in this section. The next section reflects the struggles and joys of maturing, represented by natural themes and scenes. In the third section, I juxtapose dark and humorous themes through various polarities, dichotomies, and contrasts, focusing more on the perilous parts of attempting to return home on various levels. Lastly, I bring the journey full circle by returning to images and themes of family and light, bringing the reader back home. The first poem in the work is about my father’s influence, so I found it appropriate to bring the collection full circle and end the thesis with a work about my father’s influence as well. Section I is Beginnings. This section initiates the process of going home. It begins in childhood, and many poems take place at my childhood home. I started with a chronological exploration of my youngest experiences, and I transitioned into older childhood episodes. Section II is Life Cycle, named after one of the section’s poems. This part leads the reader further into the story arc, exploring the natural world and joys and challenges of maturation through these various “life cycles.” The reader also explores various natural events, which someone is likely to encounter on a journey. In Section III, Two Views, the thread binding all the poems together is juxtaposing contrasts, particularly contrasting beliefs. This segment also deals with struggling through loss and doubt while journeying toward spiritual wholeness. Section IV, Offshoots of Light, includes poems that connect with various forces that have influenced me in some way or create a “light” theme. Most of the poems bring the reader closer to the end of the journey, toward the light and warmth of spiritual, emotional, and physical home. The last poem in the thesis and this section, therefore, returns the reader to my childhood home and the theme/mood in the first poem. Through the collection, the reader starts at home, circles away from the concept of childhood and home, and, at the end, returns to where she began, like a hero’s quest. In the end, the concept of returning home becomes the prevalent theme in the thesis, and therefore a fitting conclusion to the entire collection.