Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Ambika Gabriel


Basement Heart is a collection of short stories with a goal of documenting the manifestations of rage and how it evolves throughout a woman’s life. In these stories, femininity is explored through the aesthetics of the grotesque. Female protagonists seek to inhabit new definitions of female sexuality that combat tired expectations made by society’s misogynistic and objectifying culture. Often, their feelings of unprovoked grief manifest themselves as pursuits of the flesh, which becomes the underlying heartbeat of each story; themes revolve around sex and obsession and explore what happens when sexual fantasies are realized and lived out in the real world. When characters inhabit their bodies in ways that American culture tells women not to, they become viscerally self-aware and better their understanding of what they want. And doing what they want is all these women care about. The characters in Basement Heart are angry, restless, and at times driven mad by their own lust for control.