Rebecca Styles

Doctor of Philosophy, (Creative Writing)
Study Completed: 2017
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Inherited Body

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Styles analysed Adam Zachary Newton’s framework of narrative ethics to explore the risks and losses of appropriating people for a work of fiction based on a family story of mental illness. She applied Newton’s framework to three contemporary New Zealand novels based on family historical narratives in which characters are attempting to write stories within power structures that threaten to silence them. Her analysis highlights the ethical consequences of narrating story and fictionalising people, and the reciprocal claims connecting teller, witness and reader in that process in an effort to see the connection between life and art. Seeing this connection, enabled Styles to write a work of fiction that takes a family story of psychotic stress and opens it out to the reading community to suggest a collective narrative about mental illness.

Dr Thom Conroy
Associate Professor Philip Steer