Blue Violets

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Thisbe Nissen

Second Advisor

Dr. Jon Adams

Third Advisor

Dr. Katherine Joslin

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Bush


This novel follows the life of Derrick Vezchek: an American Veteran who serves in various unnamed wars over the course of his military career. The struggles he faces in combat as well as those he deals with at home with his wife, daughter, and friends serve as touchstone events for the novel’s progression.

All of the men Derrick served with die in ways that some would consider dishonorable, and most of them die at home while on leave or awaiting deployments, leaving behind women who cared for them as well as children in many cases. Derrick is the only one who live till retirement, and he retires with his wife Shannon and their daughter, Ariel.

Derrick is caught between his desire to be a “good” man and his desire to get the things he wants; some of this is related to the relationships he has with various women in his life; it is also related to his wife’s insistence that he write about his experiences. This further complicates his marriage when his wife has difficulty believing that the stories are fictional despite Derrick’s insistence that the stories he says are fiction are fiction and the stories he claims are fact are fact. The overall story is one that aims to show a man who wants to live a good life based on some set of å that he himself doesn’t understand while at once wrestling with internal desires that he has no way of silencing unless he chooses to kill himself. Since his best friend, Rake, killed himself and left behind a stack of planed and glued boards with cryptic phrases carved into them, Derrick feels he has a reason to live no matter how much he hates himself. But he doesn’t feel he is capable of living at home yet, and the novel ends with him headed back to war.


Fifth Advisor: Matthew Gavin Frank

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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