Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Cynthia Van Zandt

Second Advisor

Gregory McMahon

Third Advisor

W. Jeffrey Bolster


This study investigates the known successes and and failures of New England seamen, second-hand poetry about women on land and men at sea, personal narratives of family members ashore, and the deeply intimate writings of men on sailing ships. Through official documentation and the productions of literary circles, it is possible to determine the relationship between the external and intrinsic motivations of men and their families to go to sea and stay at sea. Life in seafaring communities intensified human experiences. Familial separation and loss has universally emanated grief in seafaring traditions. The New England maritime narrative is a story of under-dog triumphs, psychological and emotional struggles, broken expectations, and loss. This study seeks to honor the sacrifices of seaport families and communities.