First Advisor

Leni Zumas

Date of Publication

Spring 6-3-2015

Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing






Opium trade -- Washington (State) -- Port Townsend -- Fiction -- 19th century, Women detectives -- Washington (State) -- Port Townsend -- Fiction -- 19th century



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 81 pages)


DEEPWATER is a novel that takes place in Port Townsend, Washington Territory, in 1887. This thesis contains the first sections of the novel, in which detective Alma Rosales goes undercover to infiltrate an opium-smuggling ring. She arrives in the remote outpost where the ring operates, falls in with some waterfront thieves, and gets to work. Soon it becomes apparent that Alma's reports to her Pinkerton employers aren't telling the whole truth. And as she gets cozier with the outlaws of Port Townsend, Alma's own identity and motives come into question.

Thematically this novel is an exploration of constructed identity: the many parts one person plays in her daily life and over time, and how some parts become habit while others may never feel natural. Alma's disguises make explicit her various performances of personality, physicality and gender. Stylistically I've chosen to reflect Alma's personas, performed or otherwise, in corresponding narrative modes (points of view). Also explored are the performative aspects of dialogue, the blending or warping of genres and genre expectations, and the experience of inhabiting a physical body that is sometimes wildly at odds with the mind.


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This thesis is only available to students, faculty and staff at PSU.

Persistent Identifier