Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Fine Arts

School or Department

Creative Writing Program

Faculty Mentor Department

Creative Writing Program

Faculty Mentor

Robert Stubblefield


surreal, commedia, bread, fascism, horror, historical fiction

Subject Categories

Creative Writing | Fiction


The title, Give Them Bread, is based off a quote by Roman poet, Juvenal: “Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt.” The story contains elements of horror, dream-like imagery, and surrealism—a mode of art that, topically, emerged in the early 20th century. It contains accounts of Italian history, references to commedia dell’arte, and inspired by Italian literary works such as Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy and Curzio Malaparte’s macabre novels, Kaputt and La Pelle. The grander purpose of Give Them Bread is to examine the meaning of truth in a political, moral, philosophical, spiritual, and everyday setting. It also seeks to explore the concepts of faith and reason, as well as how the combination of these complementary yet conflicting ideas may lead to a happier life.

Carlo, a young man from Naples, finds himself in a strange and phantastic realm with very little memory as how or why he had arrived there. As he traverses the unnatural world, he must battle trickeries, deceit, and delirious illusions affected by its denizens, the charismatic Grand Host and his mystical troupe of sybarites. To further delineate the lines between the real and the fantastical, there will be intermissions of memory intended to compare the fanciful (perhaps even capricious) atmosphere to the realities of Carlo’s past and present. It will ultimately serve as a dark and devious parody of his own sins as well as the follies of his government, his countrymen, and mankind’s apparent predisposition to do evil. Throughout his journey his faith, his determination, his desire to find the truth, and his identity as a radical skeptic will be relentlessly challenged. Carlo’s choices will ultimately dictate whether or not he is able to escape the clutches of the Grand Host.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project


Included in

Fiction Commons



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