Journal of Undergraduate Research


emotional truth, fiction, misconduct, State Hospital, how factual truth works in fiction






In the early 1990s I had the opportunity to work closely with a group of youth patients, staff members, and clinicians at the Utah State Hospital. During that time there were several accusations of misconduct of staff with the youth patients, some of whom I knew personally. My project has been to create six short stories dealing with the experiences of both the youth patients and the staff at the State Hospital that are based on the interviews I did with former patients, clinicians, and staff. I wanted to investigate the way specific individuals remembered incidents of misconduct and how those memories correspond to my memories. Using these comparisons as a springboard into a fictional world, I wrote stories that I felt would most effectively relay the emotional truth of the individuals involved in the incidents.