Date of Award

Spring 5-24-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA English




Cara Blue Adams, MFA

Committee Member

Nathan Oates, Ph.D.


creative writing, family, job loss, alcoholism, disappearance, missing person


As individuals, our choices and the subsequent consequences of those choices can seem isolated to our own bubble of existence. In this thesis, “Roams,” a novel about Beck, the adult daughter of an alcoholic mother who disappears, and Jim, her mother’s boyfriend, the chapters seek to challenge that comfortable idea, showing two characters whose lives are only tangentially connected by a single person in common, but who nonetheless each leave an unintentional mark on the other’s life. As “Roams” continues, Elaine’s disappearance will ripple out into the town, extending beyond her daughter and her friend as they contend with family, mortality, and the illusion of privacy in a small town. The quiet, contained nature of the town is deceptive; it is discreet, but the residents, tucked away in their own corners, are screaming beneath the serene surface, and Elaine’s disappearance will ultimately pull back unexpected curtains. As Beck and Jim seek solutions, grapple with truth, and try to save a life, the reader is asked to contemplate death and dependency in the context of family and community. Beck and Jim will come to realize that, like the root system of a forest, the hidden ties that bind them to each other and to others in the town are stronger and more far-reaching than they originally appear. Their actions, which might seem to affect only them, in fact affect others. In learning this, they will learn that they are not as free, nor as alone, as they had imagined.

Available for download on Wednesday, December 17, 2025