Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Alan S. Loxterman

Second Advisor

Dr. Suzanne Jones

Third Advisor

Dr. Marcia E. Whitehead


Joyce's Exiles and Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun are both unsuccessful naturalistic dramas written by novelists. This study compares the two texts, applying the question, "Is free will possible?" to four common themes within each work: the past, religion, marriage and politics. Within these four contexts, the two plays exhibit similarities of language and content; however, they consistently distinguish themselves on the question of free will. Joyce's work shows a protagonist who "frees" himself, through sacrifice, from the bonds of tradition. Faulkner's work shows a protagonist "doomed" and "damned" to suffer endlessly for her past. Despite their opposing presentations of free will, both dramas produce a similar disquiet and ambiguity in their audiences, leaving them "free" to interpret the endings. Thus, the works both depict morality as a complex issue in the modern world.