Course Hero. "All the Bright Places Study Guide." Course Hero. 7 Apr. 2018. Web. 22 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/All-the-Bright-Places/>.
Course Hero. (2018, April 7). All the Bright Places Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 22, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/All-the-Bright-Places/
(Course Hero, 2018)
Course Hero. "All the Bright Places Study Guide." April 7, 2018. Accessed September 22, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/All-the-Bright-Places/.
Course Hero, "All the Bright Places Study Guide," April 7, 2018, accessed September 22, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/All-the-Bright-Places/.
The novel starts by establishing that Finch is suicidal. The reader will soon learn he is thinking about death constantly—other people's deaths, his own death, methods of death, and the history of methods and suicides.
Although Finch's very first words in the novel assert that he wants to die, the first chapter ends with Finch thinking about how he really wants to live. "It's about having control," he tells only the reader—not his counselor, Mr. Embry, who has just told him to "stay alive." Finch adds, to inform the reader, "It's about having control. It's about never going to sleep again." Finch's greatest secret is that he wants help. He wants to live, but he doesn't know how to overcome his depression. All the Bright Places seeks to combat the stigmatization of mental illness and the pervasive idea that people with mental disorders have a choice.
Violet feels a physical reaction to her closeness with Finch. The reader is not surprised, as their romance is inevitable in the novel. However, this marks a key moment for her that ties in with the good qualities of exploration. At this point, Violet is somewhat dead inside, still mourning her sister Eleanor's death. Finch is like a spark of life for Violet.
The inevitability of Finch's death is clear to him. The question for him is not if he will die; it is the methodology and timing he has yet to sort out for himself. His goal, though, is to experience what he believes is a "perfect day" before that.
This warning, which comes from a sense of consideration of Theodore Finch and his volatile state, seems judgmental to Finch—and frightening. This is more so when, later, his sister and friends also seem to echo it. The interpretation Finch makes of everyone warning him is that they expect Violet Markey to hurt him; they think he is not enough, and he is the one who will be damaged.
Literally, the question Finch asks is related to his sister Decca's cutting up books. Finch, however, asks the question because he feels there is something bad in him. His dark moods are never far from his mind over the course of the novel, even at times when he is with Violet, whom he credits with being a haven and a source of peace.
Sometimes, Ultraviolet, things feel true to us even if they're not.
Violet has criticized Finch for lying to her parents. A part of his lie is that he has no contact with his father. Whether the "truth" is that his father stopped being paternal at the time Finch says he left or that it is part of Finch's disorder, the character believes his answers—much like his "new versions" of himself—are a kind of true.
This is the crux of Finch's dilemma. He is afraid of himself, his dark moods, and his temper. He knows he is not in control, and he sees his future in the form of his father.
I think ... I'm most afraid of the Long Drop. I'm most afraid of Asleep and impending weightless doom.
Finch is telling Violet what he fears, but the true nature of his fear is revealed only to the reader, not to Violet. The reason he wants to die is to escape his pain. For Finch, his depression resembles being dead while still being alive, so to him, death is sleep but with no pain. The sleep of death seems better than the pain of depression.
For what it's worth, you showed me something, Ultraviolet—there is such a thing as a perfect day.
Finch's goal has been met through Violet's love and affection. Her presence in his life has given him the one thing he most wanted: his perfect day.
While Finch's moods are unpredictable, they are also charming at times. People who experience bipolar disorder are not simply either depressed or disordered as they appear in the extremes of their condition. Finch's gift to Violet of flowers in the snow, while extreme, is the sort of romantic gesture that leaves a teen girl charmed.
Finch is thinking about leaving the hospital in this scene. He had the presence of mind to seek help for the pills he had ingested, but he cannot see that staying to seek help for the underlying condition that makes him suicidal would be wise. This, as with other moments in Finch's life, makes clear that there were times that help was near. Whether he refused it because he couldn't see that he needed it or was afraid of his parents' reaction is unclear.
Violet has just reorganized the Post-it notes Theodore Finch left behind to figure out where he might be, and this is a message from him. When Violet shows Finch's words to Finch's mom, Mrs. Finch, she responds, "That's what he said after the cardinal died." Mrs. Finch finally remembers something meaningful and worth paying attention to about her son, but it's too late.
This highlights the point that what Finch really needed all along could come only from his parents in the form of love from his father and attention from his mother. The reader understands, in the contrast between Finch's parents and Violet's, that no relationship could have filled the void in Finch created by his own parents' failures.
The thing I realize is that it's not what you take, it's what you leave.
Finch's habit of leaving things behind makes sense in a different way to Violet at this point. His last stops, completed apart from her, and the things she finds in those places give her the strength and courage to live and continue to endure and explore, the most important things she learned during her relationship with Finch—ultimately this is the gift to her he left behind.
I think of my own epitaph, still to be written, and all the places I'll wander.
Violet, rather than being further depressed by Finch's death, can see his vivaciousness as an inspiration. Wandering with Finch and being loved by him was what "cured" her, and she is continuing on the path he helped her find. In essence, this is the proof for the reader that Violet is recovering from Finch's emotional struggles and death.