The End of the Blue

Everything that you need to figure out what happens to Derek is written in the book.

I’m going to discuss the ending of The Blue here, as some people have been confused by it, and perhaps my personal interpretation will give them some of the closure.

This is a major spoiler alert. I am going to openly and blatantly discuss the last few pages of my novel, so please do not scroll down and read unless you are not bothered by it. I’ll attach my analysis in a comment after this post, to reduce the risk of accidentally spoiling the story.


One Comment on “The End of the Blue”

  1. Is Derek okay?
    Yes, he is. He was beaten badly by the Brother, but his injuries are not fatal. In the first paragraph as he wakes up, he notices how bored the EMT looks. Derek takes this as a sign his condition is not serious. And, I want to stress that I’m not trying to add material to the story by answering these questions. I’m only pointing out the places in the book that I felt answered the questions many people were posing to me after they finished The Blue.

    What about Natalie?
    While it isn’t expressly stated in the book, nothing changes since their last conversation – Derek wants to move in and raise her kid, whether or not it’s his. It still eats away at him, but nothing about the ending changes his course of action here.

    What about the trial?
    He’s ‘not guilty.’ There’s no evidence to re-try him.

    What about the Brother? Derek shot him, what happens there?
    Derek killed the Brother in self-defense, with the Brother’s own gun. I’m sure Derek would not be held accountable for defending himself.

    So, what does it all mean? Why does it end the way it ends?
    The Blue is an exploration of the personal realities that drive us all. This is the ‘point.’ Our viewpoints are, in a sense, madness. The Brother is consumed by this story of revenge he’s built for himself, and Derek is driven by a mixture of guilt and survival instinct – not to mention his face-blindness.

    The book itself, when read by a certain kind of person, is meant to invoke a bit of this madness. I use Derek to toy with the reader’s perception of whether or not he is a good or bad person, etc. Every mind present (or represented) in the Blue is getting a good spin, if I was successful.

    After the Brother dies, the plot arcs are all wrapped up. The trial is over, the man hunting Derek is dead, Derek has a promising new career as an artist (something he always wanted) and he has decided to reunite with Natalie.

    When Derek shoots the Brother, he is reiterating a thread that runs through the book: thoughts are rationalizations for actions, and people’s personal realities are meaningless delusions created internally. Despite the overwhelming guilt he felt, he still protected himself when it came time to pay the price. This is a reiteration of his earlier act: Despite knowing he technically broke the law by being drunk when he ran over the nail and hit the family, he still doesn’t turn himself in. He does these things for the same reason people do everything: he wants to survive. His own personal rationalizations are meaningless. When he sees the Brother and himself struggling in a mirror, he can’t even tell the two of them apart.

    Despite all his guilt, despite being torn up over what’s happened, he still can’t do the one “fair” thing that might make it right. He can’t let the Brother get his revenge. It wouldn’t be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it would be accepting the Brother’s reality as being dominant over his own. His animal need to survive and prosper is stronger than whatever he thinks about it later. Again, one man’s ‘evil’ is another man’s ‘surviving.’

    Killing the Brother and waking in the ambulance pushed him past rationalizations and to some simple, enlightened truths – he enjoys the feel of the EMT’s hand on his wrist, he enjoys the feel of the sheets on his body and the touch of finger to finger. He is happy, in the sense that he is finally realizing what goes on in his mind is pretty meaningless. Why let it tear him apart? His actions are determined by something else. It is the only peace he can obtain; peace from himself. Whether or not this enlightenment sticks, or is induced by all those blows to the head, is undetermined. But he’s starting to understand.

    The inspiration for this was my studies of Buddhism at the time, in which enlightenment is described as a non-thinking state, and the mind is often treated as a mischievous entity which cannot be trusted until it is controlled. Derek is representative of many unfortunate aspects of humanity, and his face-blindness is a literary tool by which I could really pick apart his personal reality. By the end of the book, Derek has (at least momentarily) reached a sublime state in which he has managed to see past his own mind and own personal reality.

    But Derek was a bad person! Where was his comeuppance?
    We’re all bad people, and we’re all good people. That’s a fact in The Blue. Derek is the villain if you’re the Brother or the Wife, Derek is the hero if you’re Eli or Natalie. Those opinions are personal realities, much like the ones discussed in the story by Eli.

    My personal interpretation of the ending is that it is ‘cautiously optimistic’ for Derek’s case. I feel a kind of pity and compassion for Derek, personally. He is deeply flawed, but so is everyone.

    I was aware when I wrote it that having a first person narrator like Derek would turn a lot of people off the book – but, I could not complete the literary exercise without that being the case. I did not write The Blue thinking it would be a fun summer read that people would breeze through; I wrote it to make an impact and to be remembered, and to explore the questions I had about reality and our place in it.


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