Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




Creative Writing

First Advisor

James Barilla


This memoir-in-essays tells the story of four generations of a family living in one place, Pittsburgh, as they navigate the rise, peak, collapse, and disappearance of the steel industry. In terms of the manuscript’s “situation,” the family must navigate the complex economic, ethnic, environmental, and social struggles that are inherit when living in a place for over one hundred years. The manuscript argues that family and place are so intimately connected that the two entities cannot be separated. Pittsburgh becomes part of the narrator’s family, a kind of gene that is embedded in all of its residents, and the family helps to shape Pittsburgh’s shifting identities. The real “story” of the manuscript is about how various generations of a family reckon with their inheritances, which range in scope and severity from family myths to cultural problems, from class identities to mental illnesses.

My manuscript seeks to find a balance between creativity and reality, between myth and truth, between dogmatic acceptance and sensitive scrutiny. The manuscript follows a quasi-chronological trajectory and uses hybrid forms, partially informed by the loosely-based structures from which I was inspired.


© 2016, Anna Barry