Committee Chair

Einstein, Sarah

Committee Member

Wymer, Justin; Najberg, Andrew Michael


Dept. of English


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


This thesis contains two parts: A craft paper on plot structure and five chapters of a nonfiction memoir about my experiences growing up transgender in the South. The craft paper explores alternative plot structure techniques used to convey transgender narratives in the nonfiction memoir She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Boylan and the literary fiction novel Detransition, Baby by Torey Peters. The creative portion contains five essay chapters from Cracking, a memoir that follows my transition from a child exploring my gender identity while suffering the societal and religious influence of a small, southern town to an adult who accepted my gender identity, transitioned, and realized that the town I grew up in may no longer be the safe place I once thought it was.


Thank you to everyone who spent countless hours reading unending drafts of this thesis. To Professor Najberg, who encouraged my writing when I was still too afraid to share it. To Dr. Wymer, who pointed me in all the right directions and who always had great insights. I want to give a special thanks to Dr. Sarah Einstein who always went above and beyond in guiding my writing. She always understood how hard life can be, and always cared more deeply about her students than I ever thought was possible. To my unofficial editor, Brent Lewis, who read every first draft, even the ones I shouldn’t have shared with anyone. To Emily, none of this would be possible without her love, encouragement, and feedback. I can always count on her to be honest and very, very thorough. To my mom, who would have loved to add this work to one of her scrapbooks. To my sisters, who have always supported me. Finally, to my dad, thank you for all your love and support when I needed it most. I love you so much.


M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.




Autobiography; Gender transition--United States--Tennessee; Plots (Drama, novel, etc.); Transgender people--Identity; Transgender people in literature


Plot Structure; Gender Identity; Transgender Studies; Tennessee; Nonfiction; LGBTQ+

Document Type

Masters theses




vii, 68 leaves





Date Available


Available for download on Tuesday, May 01, 2029