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You Can't Forgive What You Can't Forget is a collection of short stories submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Fine Arts. The stories are responses to the various ways Hurricane Katrina devastated not only the Gulf Coast region, but also the inner lives of the region's inhabitants. However, the stories do not always approach the subject directly. Rather, they are thematically connected to the event by raising questions about recovery, progress, and compassion that speak to the universal emotions surrounding any kind of tragedy that might disrupt the structure of a person's daily life. For instance, in "Ogre Battle" a boy comes to recognize the similarities between himself and his parents, and he is led to the epiphany that he is not as strong as he thought. In "Let Me Lay a Truth Bomb on You," a man is faced with the sudden destruction of his home and tries to convince himself that something impossible has happened, because the reality of the situation is too hard to take. In "Survivor," two teens set out from their backwater town and are irretrievably drawn back into the world they wish to escape. In "A Mansion down the Road," the protagonist reaches the symbol of his escape and finds it to be no better than where he came from. Finally, in "Go to Sleep," a man lies in bed with his children, considers his legacy, and recognizes that he must take control of his life because the world will not simply offer him pity.