Four Fires

Date of Award

Fall 12-23-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process

First Advisor

Dan Pope

Second Advisor

John Roche


Four Fires is a 90,000-word novel about coming of age in a military family. The

story follows three generations of American veterans, capturing the nature of military

tradition and our obsession with war.

After Elijah Alcott’s father, an Army Ranger, falls from a helicopter in a fatal

training accident in 1993, Elijah is sent to live with his paternal grandfather, Papa, in

rural Washington. There he meets his cousins, Eric and John, and the girl next door,

Simone. Together they navigate the pitfalls of love, friendship, loss, and things left

unfinished, all under the specter of military heritage, of past wars, and of future wars that

will tear them apart.

Four Fires examines the full extent of war’s impact on its participants and

observers, both before and after battle. But it goes beyond the retelling of wartime

experience, seeking the root of war’s influence as its stories and myths pass from one

generation to the next.

Lance_Thesis Proposal.pdf (124 kB)
Thesis Proposal for Four Fires

Pope-Proposal Approval.pdf (47 kB)
Primary Advisor Proposal Approval

Roche-Proposal Approval.pdf (48 kB)
Secondary Advisor Proposal Approval

Available for download on Thursday, August 22, 2115

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