Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Film, Theatre & Communication Arts


Film, Theatre, and Communication Arts

Major Professor

Leake, Joanna; Boyden, Amanda

Second Advisor

Boyden, Joseph


Putting Makeup on Dead People is a collection of ten short stories narrated by Donna that relate key moments in her life from early childhood through her mid-thirties. Because of the author's belief in the circularity of time and of what makes up human identity (what we do, what happens to us, to whom we are related), the stories do not progress chronologically. The collection pays particular attention to Donna's relationship with key family members: her father Nicky, her mother Martha, her Uncle Lou, her Aunt Selena, and her siblings, Linnie and B. Many of the stories also attend to Donna's relationship with Charlie, the man who finally becomes her husband. Through these stories of one woman's life, this collection explores themes of loss, healing, and personal growth. Ultimately, this work encapsulates one person's discovery of her core identity, underneath and in addition to all of the layers added to that core, through relationships, life experiences, successes, and failures.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.