Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > A Home Transformed: Narratives of Home, Loss, Longing and the Miniature from Portsmouth Island, North Carolina

A Home Transformed addresses experiential oral narratives of homecoming, loss and longing on Portsmouth, a formerly-inhabited island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina now part of Cape Lookout National Seashore. By comparing such narratives to objects from material culture embodying a desire for the past, the exotic, and the beloved - including the hand-drawn miniature and the photograph - this thesis links material metaphors and spatial understanding with speech. I explore the intersection of memory and present experience in stories embodied in objects and landscapes, drawing on a repertory of examples from gravestones to wooden boats to land itself. Portsmouth (only superficially abandoned) I define as a home ground, symbolically cultivated, ornamented and maintained via story. A Home Transformed incorporates interviews with several former residents of Portsmouth Island, National Park Service volunteers, and others who have participated in the literal and figurative event of homecoming.