University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Release is a collection of short stories rooted in different socio-political issues present in the United States including: abortion, assisted suicide, immigration, discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals and couples regarding adoption, marital rape, and religious freedom. The goal of this collection is to humanize and destigmatize controversial topics in order to open a pathway to education and discussion. These stories were inspired primarily by The Jungle by Upton Sinclair along with with elements of Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. These novels all show the personal struggle of a character dealing with a larger issue, whether it be rooted in race, class, or specific political structures. Where this collection pulls more from Sinclair’s novel is in the attempt to contribute to the genre of political fiction which is resurging in relevance. Byars researched various academic studies, articles, journal entries, as well as news articles and blogs to simulate the indepth research carried out by Sinclair when he created The Jungle. Byars then used her sources to design first-person narratives, humanizing the socio-political issues discussed similar to the methods executed by Allison and Morrison. Byars intersects personal experiences, academic analysis, and investigation of social politics to express six unique perspectives of contentious subject matter.
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