Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

Paul Witherington


Reading the works of the relatively unknown American author, Ojuna Barnes, often proves to be an intense experience, an experience which is not easily forgotten. Although one may not readily comprehend the thematic content of Barnes' work, one is immediately drawn to the beauty and the power of her language. Barnes' language is harmonious with her ideas. In her writing she deals with the often confusing complexities of the human condition, and to express those complexities, she uses language that is as highly charged and as complex as the condition described. She writes poetic fiction, prose that is inundated with poetic qualities. Barnes' short stories, novels, poems, and plays are poetically as well as powerfully written, especially since she is able to combine the metaphoric quality and fluidity of poetry with the impact of drama. Her ability to smoothly juxtapose incongruities and unlike objects is evident throughout her work and often serves to "shake-up” one's awareness of reality and also to heighten one's awareness or perception of the confusing complexities of the human condition. The passage is demonstrative of most of Barnes' work in that she often creates a literary montage in which dualities are resolved. Barnes' major works are extremely enigmatic and thus seldom easy to read, much less comprehend. Although the short stories are often as enigmatic, they are somewhat more accessible to the reader. It is, perhaps, the accessibility of the short stories that makes them so important as an introduction to Barnes' larger works and to her full career as a writer.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Barnes, Djuna -- Criticism and interpretation



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State