Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Admin Access Only

Degree Name




First Advisor

Shawna Yang Ryan

Second Advisor

Cynthia Franklin

Third Advisor

Craig Howes

Fourth Advisor

Laura Lyons

Fifth Advisor

Ashley Maynard


Life writing, memoir, creative nonfiction, domestic abuse, mental health, #MeToo, trauma texts, Hawaiʻi Island, women’s narratives


In Everything Turns to Light, Raindrop Wright navigates family stories of domestic violence, escape, and mother (ing) and mother (hood). Wright explores her mother’s narrative voice (lost to cancer in 1996), her own role as mother, narratives of mental illness, and storytelling as a means to unseat intergenerational trauma and empower the complicated mother-daughter dynamic. Through the use of her mother’s journals, letters, genealogy websites, dreams, and family stories as history, Wright considers the ways in which trauma is accessed and ordered (from chaos to sequential) in the process of storytelling to further interrupt cycles of domestic violence and trauma.

This series of creative nonfiction stories presents the connective act of language as a performative agent (body, genealogical, and land and storytelling mapping) that will pass from mother to daughters, proposing that the stories that are circulated intergenerationally are narratives of healing. Wright finds healing narratives in the relationship of memory to her genealogy of women; she writes on her mother, her grandmother, her daughter’s paternal grandmother, and her “self” as mother, calling her generation of women forward to give voice to women’s stories.


The creative work in this dissertation is suppressed in the UH institutional repository, Kahualike, Inquiries about the creative work should be made to Raindrop Wright.