Things and Beings: A Literary Criticism of Objects




Ratcliff, Holly Fortune

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In the corner of my family’s home office, in a quart sized Ziploc bag, a hoard of white and red pens filled the plastic vessel. These pens were an advertising tool provided for a pharmaceutical company. When a change in policies came about, the pens were set aside, no longer a valid item for distribution. As a result, my dad left the pens here, untouched. It could have been their color or their sheer availability that sparked my use of them, but this initial reasoning does not strike me as much as the prolonged use that followed. I utilized the pens from childhood through high school. When it came time to leave for college, my dad willfully let me take the rest of them. Now, so many years later, the last of the stash begins to run dry. Pens must not have been meant to last more than a decade. They completed their job, one after another. They have been scattered, discarded over both a large span of time and geography. Every stylo is wrapped with a soft grip, so each gives an individual press against my right index finger. They leave a trace upon most of my work, agendas, assignments, and journals. These simple utensils possess a history; they are totems that have endowed me with communication as well as comfort. Having acknowledged this particular objects’ continual impact upon my life, I plan to reveal the Vibrant Materiality, or universal energy, experienced by and between all things human and nonhuman throughout this thesis. By observing different authors’ interactions with objects across a wide span of time and space, a vast survey of the impact of objects will present itself.



object-oriented ontology, object studies, literary criticism, Baudelaire, Charles, Neruda, Pablo, Shakespeare, William, Honors College


Ratcliff, H. F. (2016). Things and beings: A literary criticism of objects (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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