Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Pat Carr, Karen Pelz, Frank Steele

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


"Behind The Scenes" is a creative, non-fiction thesis that delights and amazes the reader from behind the scenes of a funeral home. Often, funeral homes and funeral directors are criticized via newspapers, television broadcasts, and magazine articles. But, seldom is a reader allowed to enjoy tales from a funeral director's perspective.

So, Gary Schneider, a licensed funeral director and freelance writer, opens the doors and welcomes the reader inside his Victorian funeral home, Rudy-Rowland, the second oldest funeral firm in Kentucky. This time, however, the public is allowed past the viewing room, as the reader gets into the hearts and the minds of Schneider and his staff.

From a comedy of a cat funeral to the seriousness of Schneider burying a best friend, the thesis could be considered a bitter-sweet compend of tantalizing tales. Said Dr. Frank Steele of the work, "I especially like the way the organization yields up a comedy-pathos polarization. I expect that being a funeral director gives your life a certain thrust that alternates between extremes."

And Schneider shares those extremes with his readers. From tears of overwhelming grief to unbelievable comedy, Schneider attempts to entertain the reader while sharing the seriousness of the business. Undoubtedly, few have ever read, shared, or heard such honest, straightforward accounts from behind the scenes of a funeral home.

Therefore, it is Schneider's intent to illustrate to the reader that a good funeral director must understand people and know how to be sympathetic. But a good funeral director must also know how to live, love, and laugh before he can properly prepare himself to bury the dead.

Now, if you will, let's go "Behind The Scenes."


Arts and Humanities | Creative Writing | Fiction

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