Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Comparative Literature (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



This dissertation is a study of three short story cycles which are representative of the genre in the Americas: Miguel Street (1959) by V.S. Naipaul, Los Funerales de Mama Grande (1962) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Bloodline (1968) by Ernest Gaines. I analyze each of these cycles in depth concentrating on the structure, the order of the stories, and unifying elements such as characters, themes, internal symbolism, place, language and events, in order to demonstrate that these short story collections are indeed short story cycles. I examine these cycles in light of the two themes or factors out of which the modern cycle originates: desire for selfhood versus desire for community and desire for change versus desire to remain the same or even to go back. I believe that the modern short story cycle relates in some ways the dynamic duality of a desire or acceptation of individuality, selfhood, independence, versus the desire for a lost, denied, ideal (utopia) community. The cycle and more specifically the cycles from the South, Hispanic America and the Caribbean reflect the need for individuals to assert their selfhoods but also the need to challenge an imposed mass identity in order to form a new collective identity based on revived and revised inherited myths. The concept of change, evolution, transition in the community, is maybe not inherent to all short story cycles; however, I believe it is a key factor in cycles of the American South, Latin America and the Caribbean. These three regions have many common traits not only in literature, but also in their history, and especially in a reforging of their own national/regional identity. All three cycles focus on a transitional period in the history of their nation which is derived from the postcolonial experience.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Lowe, John