Date of Award

December 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

George Clark

Committee Members

Kristie Hamilton, Andrew Martin, Liam Callanan, Rachel Buff


Healing, Moral Injury, Storytelling, Trauma, Vietnam, War





Scott A. Winkler

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2015

Under the Supervision of Professor George Clark

The Meadow considers the question of how all Americans, both civilians and military personnel alike, are affected by the United States’ military actions. Set during the Vietnam era, The Meadow tells the story of Walt Neumann, who is torn between his dream of going to college and his father’s insistence that his sons serve their nation as he did in World War II. Circumstance unexpectedly enables Walt to pursue his dream, but he also comes to realize the source of his father’s convictions and fully grasps for the first time the impact his father’s military service has had on him and his family and the ramifications of the Vietnam War on his hometown and nation. Through this lens, The Meadow participates in an ongoing discourse about war and its effects dating back to ancient Greece and moving forward through history, where it has become especially pronounced in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Meadow creatively explores and applies the critical theories and themes of scholars like Lauren Berlant, Thomas Myers, Mark Heberle, and Carol S. Pearson; psychologist Jonathan Shay; and authors Tim O’Brien, Bryan Doerries, and Ernest Hemingway to develop its primary themes: 1.) war wounds both combatants and civilians alike, especially psychologically and spiritually; and 2.) narratives—sharing and receiving them—play an essential role in both healing individuals and the nation and in constructing alternatives to the official narratives embedded within sets of forms and the affect which makes these forms meaningful to a nation’s citizens.