Honors Senior Theses/Projects


Ray Barton

Date of Award


Exit Requirement

Undergraduate Honors Thesis/Project


Honors Program

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Michael Freeman

Honors Program Director

Dr. Gavin Keulks


When asked what he would say to the survivors of the Columbine shooting, Marilyn Manson, shock rocker of the ‘90s, responded with, “I wouldn't say a single word to them. I would listen to what they have to say, and that's what no one did” (Moore, 2002). He did this in addition to continuing to create art in spite of being treated as a scapegoat by mainstream media for such an incredibly traumatic event. One of the most universal experiences a human can have is the unspeakable: events in one’s life that they are unable to put into words due to these being “certain violations of [the] social compact [that] are too terrible to utter aloud” (Herman, 2015). When one is unable to put words to unspeakable, traumatic events, they are faced with the one aspect of life they have control over which is choice. This choice is the path of creation or destruction. In a triptych of illuminated poetry, I will be exploring the dichotomous relationship between life, death, creation, and destruction inspired by the triptych Manson was able to complete following the events of Columbine. This project heavily plays into the common fears and assumptions that are conditioned into American society as a commentary on where people fall short as a result of unspeakable events. While Manson chose discussion over demolition, 4 this project, too (during an ongoing cycle of destruction), is intended to stimulate discussion through intense provocation in order to promote growth and life.