At Wit's End



Griffith, Katharine

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This thesis a novel is told from the point of view of Caroline Byrd, privately a struggling writer, professionally an English teacher at the elite St. Margaret School in Washington D.C. At the beginning of the new school year, Caroline and her colleagues are scrambling to fill the void left by the unexpected death of the head of the English Department, the formidable Della Ingoldsby. In addition to inheriting Della’s classroom, Caroline has also taken over the literary magazine, which includes a cadre of Ingoldsby acolytes with their own secret agenda. Suffering from Millennial Malaise since graduating from an MFA program and becoming a teacher, Caroline has been content to be an observer rather than an active participant in her life. However, her lackadaisical approach is disrupted by the arrival of lovelorn Amy, an old friend who takes a position in the St. Mag’s library, and Whit Parry, the handsome and enigmatic Writer in Residence. Simultaneously, Caroline’s personal and professional lives become much more demanding. She bounces between faculty meetings, the literary magazine, and the writers’ group she’s formed with Amy and Whit. As the English Department argues over how best to memorialize their late colleague, the students plan their own clandestine tribute. Caroline, distracted by her love life, is surprised along with the rest of the school when the literary magazine comes out along with the secrets of parents, students, and faculty.


This thesis has been embargoed for 10 years and will not be available until May 2028 at the earliest.


Novel, High school, St. Margaret, Literary magazine, Washington DC, Caroline Byrd