Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts
Creative Writing and the Environment
K L Cook
Inhabit, Abandon is a collection of short stories anchored by a novella. It explores cultural and environmental displacement in the Indian subcontinent. The short stories demonstrate how urban development comes at immense cultural and ecological costs, how colonial subjects often perpetuate the damage they suffered at the hands of their oppressors, how one can be simultaneously complicit and ignorant in the machinations of oppression, how memory works as a balm and a flame but never in a reliable way, how privileged one has to be to escape one's own past, and how this escape is never truly possible. In the novella, from which the thesis gets its name, a restless girl-child comes of age in a coastal village in India. Environmentalists begin to visit the village in an attempt to protect Olive Ridley turtles. This doesn't sit well with the locals, who enjoy eating the turtle eggs and the adult turtles themselves. These parallel threads come together to offer a view of rural India's many intersecting challenges: gender-based discrimination and violence, child marriage, farmer suicide, environmental catastrophes, empty-belly conservation, ineffective sex education, caste-based discrimination and violence, and religious tensions.
Budhwar, Kartika, "Inhabit, abandon: Stories and a novella" (2020). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 18032.
Available for download on Monday, June 01, 2026