Department or Program



This thesis argues that some literary works of William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, and Vladimir Nabokov both engage and represent fictional memory and support certain claims made by memorial studies that explain memories as coming into existence through a dynamic process, being transformed from their original state to incorporate knowledge learned at a time later than that of the memory’s formation. The thesis examines how it is that the mind is socially conditioned into a predetermined notion of reality, maintained by collective memory. This conditioning takes place at the onset of memory formation and results in limiting the mind to a finite number of memories. Rather than continuously creating new memories, the mind compiles very few memories that conform to social reality. This aggregate effect creates the allusion that new memories are created throughout life; whereas, the idea of a new memory is actually synonymous with a product of the imagination, a product that is limited in most after a certain point in development. Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury exhibit the mnemonic processes of association. This thesis shows that memorial association, while helping to strengthen long-term memories, directly causes confabulation; however, what these texts, along with Faulkner’s Light in August and Nabokov’s Speak, Memory, and Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse also demonstrate is a questioning of a learned notion of reality. I argue that this reality is an entirely subjective construct and one that prevents certain experiences from becoming memories.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Freedman, Sanford

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.