This research attempted to provide a thorough critical analysis of the short fiction of Jayne Anne Phillips. The analysis centered around the paradox of home versus escape in Phillips’s four collections, Sweethearts, Counting, Black Tickets, and Fast Lanes. At issue was whether, and if so how, home and escape are transcended in Phillips’s work. Various ideas that Phillips has noted as influencing her were used to help explore this issue. Theoretical apparatuses included Zen Buddhism, the work of Georges Bataille, and critical works on the prose poem. The discussion of each book focused on one mode of transcendence and usually, though not exclusively, on one of the above theoretical apparatuses.
The conclusion reached was that Phillips uses several different modes with varying degrees of success in an attempt to reconcile the concepts of home and escape in her work. Chief among these is the writer’s freezing of a moment in a work of literature, which allows the writer himself or herself, as well as on occasions the character, the opportunity to recover a past while not remaining enslaved to it.
A thesis by Jon Morgan Davies