Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in English


Department of English


Watermark, a short story cycle, as defined by Forest Ingram, Susan Garland Mann, and James Nagel, consists of twenty-five individually complete and interrelated stories and vignettes. Along with common characters and settings, the individual stories within Watermark resonate with themes of violence, love, cyclical behavior, amputated potential, self-denial, poverty, and imagination as escape. Through a process that Ingram calls recurrent patterns of development, these themes, amplified through repeated intertextual imagery, shape a larger narrative that conveys the developing artistic potential of Liz, one of many recurring characters. Typical of the short-story cycle, the title serves as a central unifying symbol. It recurs through water motifs and images of physical and emotional markings. The critical introduction conducts a broad survey of the genre’s defining scholarship and analyzes Watermark’s unifying structure by focusing on recurrent imagery, signposted themes, narrative patterns of bildungsroman and kunstlerroman, revealing a critical aesthetic that parallels the central tension between “the one and the many” found within the short-story cycle genre.


Short stories, American, Cycles (Literature), Short story

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2008, author