Departmental Honors Project Title

How “True” is True Enough?

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Type

Honors Project


College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Patricia Weaver Francisco


As a culture, Americans are obsessed with “truth,” or with the idea of truth. We are also prone to demanding tidy resolutions of complex matters. We vilify public figures that get caught lying while minimizing our own dishonesty. Our attachment to the notion of cultural binaries reveals our discomfort with continuums. This project is a collection of five essays which explore this contradiction: one critical essay and four creative works. The critical essay in the collection considers the subject of “truth” in memoir: how published memoirists have approached and resolved the matter of truth telling in their work; how they reconciled conflicts over content; how they honored the unspoken pact with the reader to deliver a true story taken from real events; how they demonstrated these responsibilities in the work they produced. Each of the four creative essays contains elements of memoir: each exposes commonly held binaries and the illusion of simple conclusions. “Caprice, in Triptych” is a lyric essay about the futility of standing in judgment of others; “On Lies, Liars and Lying” is a meditation on the nature of lying; “Pathos, Party of One?” ponders the human inclination toward self-deception; “The Race Card” considers this problematic, and increasingly ubiquitous, phrase.








Departmental Honors Project

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