How to Join a Cult in the 21St Century

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hagenston, Becky

Committee Member

Claggett, Shalyn R.

Committee Member

Dodds, Lara A.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Department of English


My short story collection How to Join a Cult in the 21st Century documents the transition of Mona Jones, a young queer girl, from her past into her future. As a guide on how to navigate social circles in the new millennium, these transitions usually emerge in the form of Mona joining a new social group. A major theme running through the collection is the idea of multiple roles or “personalities” that Mona cycles through over the years. The point of this is to demonstrate the complexity of persona, as well as its fluidity, especially when adapting to gender norms, or more specifically, the social expectations of women. It is my intention to mesh my raw Southern heritage with fantastical scientific elements to both inspect and subvert the experience of being “othered” in the South.



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