Graduation Year

2015

Date of Submission

4-2015

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Literature

Reader 1

Kevin Moffett

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2015 Regina O. Mullen

Abstract

Based in the modern day San Francisco Bay Area, these two stories intend to utilize “outsider”-labeled protagonists to portray de-familiarized accounts of two specific Bay Area realities.

“Drought Measures” depicts a new student at a diverse and de-facto segregated public high school, following her as she learns to navigate the unspoken status quo of a long-entrenched racial divide. This story is neither a commentary on nor a critique of contemporary racial issues, but rather a portrayal of some of the many ways in which socioeconomic status and race inform day-to-day interactions. Half-Spanish, the protagonist is confronted with the paradox of being too white-passing in certain contexts, and not white-passing enough in others.

“The Coffee Girl” strives to explore the way in which various trivialities of status – appearance, dress, the perceived value of one’s job – become toxic and inflated once deemed important. Though the issue of status is certainly not unique to the Bay Area, the influence of Silicon Valley, Sand Hill Road, (etc.) can lead to a narrow definition of what it means to be successful. Occupying a perceived “menial” job, the protagonist serves to provide an outsider perspective on a white-collar event, and to illustrate how this disparity of status can breed insecurity within a relationship, limiting its ability to function. As a café employee, she finds it particularly difficult to navigate the vague norms and boundaries of modern-day dating from a position of lower occupational status.

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