The State of Discontent




Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



Document Type



Set in northern California in 1941, during a short-lived and obscure secession movement to create a new state called Jefferson, this novel traces the ups and downs of the movement itself and the everyday people who set their hopes on the push for statehood. Rebelling against the states they thought spent too much time catering to the needs of city-dwellers while ignoring their rural constituents, the movement was largely tongue-in-cheek, with protestors threatening to secede every Thursday until their demands were met and carrying signs with such slogans as “Our roads are not passable, they’re hardly jack-assable.” It was, however, also a serious struggle, and many involved believed passionately in the need for, and possibility of, a new state. The secession movement was extremely brief—only a few months—and abruptly ended when Pearl Harbor was bombed. The national good was judged more important than regional problems and the secessionists put down their signs.



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Committee Chair

Bennett, James G.

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