Date of Award
Nathan Oates, Ph.D.
Cara Blue Adams, MFA
All, Things, Considered, Trauma Theory, Bildungsroman, PTSD
Inspired by fictional works from Denis Johnson and Ken Kesey, in addition to trauma theorists Cathy Caruth, Sandra L. Bloom, and Anne Whitehead, All Things Considered details the painful past and pensive present of Evan and Darcey, two 30-somethings trying desperately to conceal their divorce from Evan’s parents during a holiday trip home. Separated into 10 chapters, this coming-of-age novella delves into the lives of the two main characters, Evan and Darcey, as well as supporting characters, Evan’s family - Mom, Dad, Chase, and the already-deceased Ashleigh. Split between expository information from the past and confrontations in the present, each chapter contains some reference to trauma faced by one, or more of the characters in an attempt to elucidate the adverse effects unresolved internal conflict can have on relationships based on romantic and non-romantic love.
Suffering from what seems to be PTSD due to his younger sister’s suicide, Evan’s internal narration, as well as the overarching third-person narrative voice, reflect his ambivalent nature when it comes to his relationship with Darcey and newfound love, Ava. Throughout his brief trip home, Evan is forced to juggle the anxiety of potentially being forced to reveal his impending divorce to his parents, in addition to tip toeing around Darcey’s drunken outbursts, so as not to anger her into spilling the details, either. In the end, his precautions prove worthless, as Mom overhears an argument between the two ex-lovers that exposes the true reason behind their split.
Exploring themes and social issues such as suicide; mental health; interpersonal relationships, and the detrimental effects trauma can have on them; substance abuse; marriage; and sexual assault, All Things Considered does not necessarily afford a happy or positive takeaway. Rather, the overall goal of this coming-of-age novella is to serve as a display for just how contagious unresolved trauma can become, especially for those we love.
Murtagh, Conor, "All Things Considered" (2021). Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs). 2874.
Available for download on Monday, May 11, 2026