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Wilson, J 2008, 'Novel and exegesis for PhD', PhD thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright J Wilson 2008


The thesis consists of two parts. The first, a novel entitled The Practice of Goodness, is the fictional memoir of a woman who has a terminal illness. The protagonist seeks to understand the significant events of her life and her own agency in these events in the time that is left to her before her death. The memoir is concerned with complex family relationships; the challenges of living with a terminal diagnosis, and state and domestic violence. As she progresses through her illness, the protagonist also engages with the wider world in her encounters with asylum seekers detained in the Woomera and Baxter Detention Centres in 2002.

The second part of the thesis is a theoretical perspective on the main themes suggested by the creative piece. The exegesis consists of two parts entitled: On Death, and How, then, are we to live?

The themes examined are death and dying, domestic and political violence, and forgiveness. Through engagement with literary theory, popular cultural representations of dying, and current academic literature on human rights, and forgiveness, these themes are theoretically unpacked. The relationship between creative writing and theory is shown to be complementary through the use of theory to analyse the creative piece. The composite form of the thesis further exemplifies this marriage between theory and practice.

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