Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing

First Advisor

Nicole Markotić




“It Takes a Lot of Lights to Make a City” is a collection of short stories set in Halifax, Nova Scotia between 2010 and 2017, a period during which the city, long reliant on its heritage as the basis of its cultural identity, experienced a rapid shift toward modernization and urbanization. The characters of “It Takes a Lot of Light” experience forms of psychic displacement in response to the city’s socioeconomic transformation. These characters, including an unemployed university dropout, a social-climbing landscaper, and a middle-aged professional stifled by her retired husband, form a community of disparate individuals affected directly or indirectly by Halifax’s shifting economic landscape. This community is reflected in the structural approach to the short story collection; The six stories that comprise “It Takes a Lot of Lights” operate both individually, and as components of a larger unified work, linked by geography, character, and a recurrent focus on class disparity. This approach to the short story collection aims to explore the genre’s potential to function as a network of individual stories whose thematic context is transformed and expanded via their relationships with one another.