All the Bright Places | Study Guide

Jennifer Niven

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Course Hero. "All the Bright Places Study Guide." Course Hero. 7 Apr. 2018. Web. 14 Aug. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/All-the-Bright-Places/>.

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Course Hero. "All the Bright Places Study Guide." April 7, 2018. Accessed August 14, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/All-the-Bright-Places/.

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All the Bright Places | Part 1, Chapters 18–20 | Summary

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Summary

Part 1, Chapter 18: FINCH Day 15 (still)

Finch "think[s] up epitaphs" for people as they drive. Violet asks what his would be and he says, "Theodore Finch, in search of the Great Manifesto." When she asks what he means, he clarifies that it is the "urge to be, to count for something" and to "die valiantly, with acclamation—in short, to remain a memory."

When Violet asks why he missed school on Friday, Finch explains that he gets headaches. He thinks to himself: headaches are "part of it," so he is not lying to Violet. He thinks more about it, how his "brain is firing so fast that it can't keep up with itself. Words. Colors. Sounds." He remembers how he had tried to explain to his sister Kate Finch how his head hurts, and her response: "thank Dad for that. Maybe if he hadn't used your head as a punching bag." Finch hopes it is not because of that but rather a result of his "brilliant, complicated, buzzing, humming, soaring, roaring, diving, godlike brain."

Finch realizes he missed his meeting with the school counselor on Friday. He also thinks about "what it feels like to go to Sleep." He associates the feeling with someone being hanged, and how a "long drop from the Awake ... can happen all at once." "[S]ometimes there are warnings," he thinks, but whenever he has spoken about the Sleep in the past, it was a bad idea. He remembers when he told Gabe Romero, when they were younger and were friends. Roamer told his parents, and this filtered through the teacher and principal to Finch's parents. It also meant that the "next day it was all over school" and he was "officially Theodore Freak." As Finch is thinking, he starts rearranging his room, but "[n]o one comes up to ask what the hell [he is] doing." He remembers that the last time either of his sisters or his mother entered his room was "four years ago." He had the flu, and Kate took care of him.

Part 1, Chapter 19: FINCH Days 16 and 17

Finch meets with his school counselor, "Embryo" (Mr. Embry). They talk about his feelings for a girl Finch calls "Lizzy" to hide Violet Markey's identity. Mr. Embry knows who she really is. He tells Finch, "Just be careful," which spins Finch into thinking of "every way ... Violet Markey might break [his] heart." They close the session with questions about college and a reminder that if Finch "need[s] anything" he should call Mr. Embry.

Before each period Finch runs from location to location all over the school, so he can escort Violet to her classes. While running to his next class, he is stopped by Principal Wertz. Finch offers an outlandish excuse about "patrolling" for the school's safety. Violet is ultimately unhappy about Finch escorting her to every class, and Finch interprets it as her being "terrified someone might see" them together. He gets angry, leans in with "one hand against the locker behind her." She retorts with not being able to tell if his behavior is "because it's expected or because it's just the way you are." He expects her to slap him or shove him, but she just "closes her eyes" in anticipation of a kiss.

The baseball coach sees them and gives them both detention. The chapter closes with their arriving at detention.

Part 1, Chapter 20: VIOLET 142 days to go

Violet wakes at 2 a.m. to Finch throwing rocks at her window. She tells him to go away but ultimately joins him outside. They go downtown, and Finch uses his mother's keys to Bookmarks—the bookstore where she works part time—to let them into the store. They read Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go! aloud to one another. Finch starts reciting the book from memory, and they get up and "flip-flap," which is "a kind of leaping over things."

Afterward, they climb the Purina Tower and talk and flirt. Then Finch drives Violet home. She wants him to kiss her goodnight, but instead he leaves while proclaiming that he is "sure [she doesn't] suck at writing."

Analysis

It is again helpful to read the novel keeping in mind that Finch should probably be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As the reader sees, the disorder is one with opposite extremes. It may be useful to note the transitions between the moods Finch experiences.

Here and elsewhere in the book, there are times when it's difficult to distinguish between what is Finch's excitement at knowing Violet Markey and what is symptomatic. According to the Mayo Clinic, "When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (a less extreme degree of mania), you may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly." The novel does not make clear if Finch running through the hallways of the school or "flip-flapping," or suddenly rearranging his room is symptomatic of his disorder or his usual self. Clearly, however, he exhibits a significant number of the symptoms.

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