English Department

at the University of Michigan-Flint

When I was accepted to the University of Michigan-Flint I knew that I would take advantage of the thesis option. I had imagined writing at length about a novel that I cared deeply for and when I signed up for Methods with Dr. Foster that dream began to take shape. Since I first read it fifteen years ago, Saul Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March was such a novel and by the semester’s end I had roughly described the overall theme and each chapter’s purpose toward it. It was Bellow’s idea of the triumphant life that would occupy my reading and writing for the next two years.
After a year of research I was able to live next to Bellow’s archives in Chicago and write for four months. I will never be able to thank enough those who made such a move possible for me and I took full advantage of the freedom and leisure such a move provided. I worked every morning on my ideas and in the afternoon I explored the city Bellow captures so well in his novel. Being in the place he wrote about brought a new brilliance to the work and I felt I was breathing the same air as his young protagonist.
When I returned Dr. Foster and Dr. Svoboda worked with the manuscript, explaining the difficulty tenses present when dealing with the novel’s “present” and the history in which it takes place and sharpening the ideas that my own eyes had blurred over after so much time living with them. In the end we were able to fashion a fair account of Bellow’s novel and one of the essays was accepted for publication in The Saul Bellow Journal. It is a great thrill to have achieved a goal set two years ago and have so many people inside the University and out respect that dream enough to help me achieve it. All one needs is an opportunity.