Honors Program

Midway Honors, Honors in English

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Michael Cody

Thesis Professor Department

Literature and Language

Thesis Reader(s)

Karen Kornweibel, Lindsey C. King


American Indian author Susan Power’s novel The Grass Dancer is often categorized as magical realism, yet Power has stated the novel is a representation of her reality and that it is not a magical realist text. The term magical realism was first applied to the work of Latin American authors such as Gabriel García Márquez whose writing depicts magical events in a matter-of-fact narrative tone. It has since expanded to include other cultures. The question is whether it is a term that can readily be applied to the literary work of all cultures. The closest Wendy B. Faris, one of the most prominent experts on magical realism, comes to discussing the term in relation to the work of American Indian authors is by simply acknowledging Ojibwe writer Louise Erdrich’s label as a magical realist author. In order to aid Power in her rejection of the association, I delve into both her Dakota heritage and her life through the lens of biographical criticism in order to obtain a working image of her reality. By locating and examining the seeds of truth in her fiction, I explain the magical qualities of her novel in a rational and logical manner.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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