Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Mary Ann Melfi

Committee Members

Susan Donaldson

Chelsey Johnson

Meghan Sinton


Author, historian, and conservationist Wallace Stegner is woefully understudied due to his reputation as a Western American novelist concerned primarily with an environmentalist agenda. A close analysis of three of Stegner’s texts demonstrates that his literary genius supersedes many preconceived notions about his works. “A Field Guide to the Western Birds,” All the Little Live Things, and The Spectator Bird focus on protagonist Joe Allston, and demonstrate that Stegner uses natural imagery and psychological character development in ways similar to early Romantic writers in that he examines the relationship between internal mental environments and external physical environments. In order to analyze Allston’s journey from repressed, adolescent-minded curmudgeon to mentally integrated and emotionally aware mature adult in Stegner’s stories, I apply Carl Jung’s theories on the individual unconscious and synchronicity—or acausal connections—to prove that Allston undergoes minor and major psychological conversion experiences, as defined by philosopher and psychologist William James.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

On-Campus Access Only