Jonina Weeks' Thesis Paper About Gerald Haslam's Works

Publication Date: 


In 1988, Gerald Haslam's work was the subject of a thesis paper!

Entitled "A Contemporary Western Writer Gerald Haslam: His Means to a New West and the World," the paper was written by Jonina Weeks and submitted at Sonoma State University, where Haslam worked as an English professor at the time. Here's how the abstract describe this paper:

"Purpose of the Study: Gerald Haslam is representative of the contemporary Western writer whose works reveal a new West, not the mythical or formula Western of the past. He has focused his writing on the Great Central Valley; the people, places and events typical of their lives. However, this has not limited the universality of his themes. The purpose of my study is to examine Haslam's work for clues leading to an understanding of how he has used his locale to rediscover the West and, in turn, achieve universal significance.

"Procedure: This study has used all of Haslam's short story collections and many of his nonfiction books, magazine articles and tapes. I have also used information obtained as a participant in his Spring 1988 classes in Western Literature at Sonoma State University, and also information obtained through personal conversations with him. I have also used many of the nonfiction writings of some of his contemporaries in my study.

"Findings: The locale of the Great Central Valley has had an enormous influence on Haslam, and he has used it as a focus and springboard for much of his fiction. This has been to his advantage as it provides him with nonstereotypical sources devoid of the myths of the formula Western. Haslam's West consists of real people and places which enable him to achieve in his fiction commonality of experience, the essential of universality.

"Conclusions: Haslam is an exemplar of the contemporary Western writer in providing the reader a new West through his Great Central Valley. What's more, he proves that the regional writer can achieve universal significance. He should be read for both entertainment and insight into the human condition."

Weeks' thesis is available for download as a PDF from the Sonoma State University Library: Click Here!