Infestations: A Tetraptych & Other Stories

Master's Thesis


This collection grapples with the stickiness of being caught in layered webs of meaning. Infestations: A Tetraptych uses four linked stories to follow the life of its main character from girlhood to early-adulthood, detailing her experiences with infestations of different kinds, from the insect-related, to the psychological, to the physical. The characters in the following three standalone stories, though not part of the same fictional worlds, find themselves to be similarly infested. Throughout the collection, pests often take the form of memories, fears, and grief, among other things, usually in connection with intimate relationships, be they familial, romantic, or friend-based. Characters do their best to cope with this onslaught, alternately embracing and fending it off with such coping mechanisms as befriending cockroaches, projecting whale sounds through a rainwater pipe, archiving scenes from a failed relationship, and metaphorically detonating earrings shaped like grenades—in short, these characters craft personal ideologies even as they are influenced, as all people are, by larger, societal ones.

Infestations are closely tied to obsessions, which involve repetition; just as these stories prowl the same thematic territory in different ways, their individual narratives contain echoes, reiterations, copies good and bad. And running through all of these stories, weaving them ever closer together, is a current of surrealism, emerging in elements of the magically strange and the strangeness of the everyday. By approaching the concept of infestations from multiple angles, and blurring the line between the real and the speculative, Infestations: A Tetraptych & Other Stories explores the way people negotiate the lines between independence and dependence in a world of interlocking complexities.


Attribute NameValues
Author Naima Msechu
Contributor Steve A. Tomasula, Research Director
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Creative Writing
Degree Name Master of Fine Arts
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Submission Date 2022-04-09
Record Visibility Public
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  • All rights reserved

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