Document Type



Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

John Dalton, MFA


Troy, Mary

Vogrin, Valerie


ABSTRACT Set in the years before and after the great flood of 1927, the novel chapters focus on the lives of the Moss family, residents of the fictional Delta plantation town of Storey, Arkansas. Abandoned during the flood by their mysterious father, Lee, the Moss children are left to attend to their often distracted and negligent mother, Florie, and to find their own way in a time when financial resources are dwindling. Willman, the youngest son of the family, has found a new way to make money: diving in the dangerous St. Francis River to collect mussels. Willman hunts for pearls and shells with the help of his closest brother, Samuel, and an unlikely friend named Pleasant, a young African-American boy who lives alone with his father, Yancy Robinett. The Robinetts are new to Arkansas, and Mr. Robinett has his own demons to face, including the memory of a crime he committed in Mississippi during the time of the flood. His life and the life of his only son will become entangled with that of the members of the Moss family, which include the treacherous oldest sons, John and Mackey, who have resorted to a questionable means of making their living and preserving their family. The six chapters included serve to present the beginnings of character, landscape, and multiple plot lines that will be built upon as the novel continues.

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