The Macksey Journal


Scholars miscategorized the short story cycle by arguing that short-story cycles are novels and that they cannot stand alone. The stories in this tryptic cycle were created to be read together as well as stand-alone stories. The collection in this cycle are not novels; however, they do fit into a larger pattern of shared experiences, a shared world view, a region, a family, individuals, or in the case of this cycle, a house. The image of the house reoccurs throughout the cycle, as a physical manifestation of repressed anger. This ties into James Nagel's theory that the short story cycle is unified through narrative and characterized by shared motifs. Furthermore, James Nagel, who is a scholar of the short story cycle, reveals that the short story cycle is not new to western prose. According to Nagel, there were writers in ancient Greece known as the Cyclic Poets, who wrote supplemental stories covering Homer's account of the Trojan War. Further, Jennifer Smith, who is also a scholar of the short story cycle, argues that the short story cycle appeals to the American sense of individualism and pluralism (Smith, 2019). Still, the cycle takes place in a house with strangers connected only by owning or renting the home. Moreover, the house, because of its history of rage, which permeates the walls, leaves the impression that it is Noah’s grandparents who haunt the house. These stories also include episodic explorations of anger and the way it can either be sharpened, vindicated, or empowered.