Thesis (M.F.A., English) -- University of Idaho, 2016 | REVERB AND DISTORTION, a collection of nine short fiction stories, explores the absurdity and the violence of self-delusion. In the tradition of Flannery O'Connor, each of these stories works its way to a culminating epiphanic moment. However, in these stories, epiphanies are optional. The characters struggle to maintain their self-delusions despite the insights they gain as the stories develop. The reasons for denying insights into one's actuality are various, from the need to cope with mental illness to retaining one's personhood in an environment designed to wrench it away. No matter how complete and blinding the veil of delusion may be, reality reverberates through the fabric. Unlike O'Connor's stories, the characters here can succeed at retaining their distorted point of view. This outcome denies the reader a clear, cathartic ending in a way that imitates a starker world more in the tradition of Raymond Carver's fiction than O'Connor's.