Semester of Graduation

Spring 2024


Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



Document Type



The Oracle of the Pig’s Head is a collection of two poems, a short story, and a novel centered around themes of the role of the feminine body in society, monstrosity, disgust, divinity, and human impact on the environment. Inspired by other works of eco-criticism, gothic literature, surrealism, Appalachian folklore, and Greco-Roman mythology, this collection explores how marginalized bodies interact in a world forever altered by climate change.

Denton is primarily interested in how severe climate change has influenced not only human’s overall relationship to the environment, but also how writers are meant to engage with a world riddled with the effects of global warming. In particular, Denton examines how feminized bodies, people of color, and queer bodies, are culturally positioned in relation to the natural world and the environment. Denton also analyzes concepts of ‘disgust ‘and ‘monstrosity’ through the lens of the ‘beastly’ or ‘untamed’ natural environment, and how these elements have been demonized in a late-stage capitalist structure.

Inspired by the works of Carson McCullers, Madeline Miller, Anne Carson, John Cassavetes, Shirley Jackson, Leo Tolstoy, Euripides, as well as American folklorists, Denton’s stories utilize the conventions of myth to craft a mythology of their own. Through the use of animal imagery and an emphasis on the environment as the ultimate storyteller, the characters in

The Oracle of the Pig’s Head must reckon with one of society’s most prevalent questions - what does it mean to be human?



Committee Chair

Chris Barrett

Included in

Fiction Commons