MELANIE RAE THON

Curriculum Vitae Biosketch

MELANIE RAE THON portrait
  • Professor, English

Research

Research Statement

My work as a creative writer leads me in many directions: from history of the Holocaust to the study of American Sign Language, from the lives of homeless children to the treatment of leukemia. I may need to visit every Indian Reservation in Montana or climb a mountain in the Absarokas, witness an autopsy or teach creative writing to women in prison. In a recent class, my students and I investigated the ways people of different cultures understand spiritual and physical healing, the cycle of life and death, and the lives of individuals as they relate to the life of the community and the natural environment. To explore these questions we read the work of a Vietnamese Buddhist, a Sufi poet, an Indian novelist, a survivor of four Nazi death camps, and a Catholic nun who has served as a spiritual advisor to men on Death Row. Walker Percy says, "The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair."