Space to Settle



D'Orazio, Marissa

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This thesis is a collection of stories that examine the expectation set against the reality of a planned suburb. The stories occur in backwards chronological order, and each story pulls back a further layer of Reston, Virginia, until we finish with its first resident. In each story, there is some type of ideal life that the characters are striving to live, but ultimately, they must settle for less. This includes settling for a less than ideal significant other, settling into a job that isn’t a good fit, settling into a routine of unhealthy obsession, or settling into the idea of not being good enough, and therefore settling into a lesser version of oneself. Through shifting perspectives and certain details that can only be gleaned through modern technology, Reston reveals itself to be a plan gone awry, a promise as false as the American Dream.


This thesis has been embargoed for 5 years. It will not be available until April 2021 at the earliest.


Short stories, Suburbia, Reston, Fiction, Northern Virginia, Planned communities