The Immortal Jellyfish and Other Things That Don't Know About Love

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Kilpatrick, Tianli
creative nonfiction; trauma; sexual assault; jellyfish; Nonfiction
thesis / dissertation description
My thesis is a collection of creative nonfiction essays that play with form and language in an attempt to show that trauma can create beauty. This thesis originated with trauma theory and specifically deals with sexual assault trauma, but it also covers topics including international adoption, self-injury, and oceanic life. Jellyfish are a recurring image and theme, both the physical jellyfish itself and the mythological connection to Medusa. Jellyfish do not have brains, but they have developed complex stinging tentacles that for all their beauty make them dangerous. I chose jellyfish because their dual representation fascinates me. I think they were the perfect vessel for me to explore my own traumas.This project speaks to larger systematic abuse issues. Many writers have addressed these topics before my thesis and many will continue to write about them after. I hope that my essays, and their eventual publication as part of a collection, will add to the public conversations, and remind abuse survivors that beauty can still exist.