Before I Fall | Study Guide

Lauren Oliver

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Course Hero. "Before I Fall Study Guide." August 23, 2019. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Before-I-Fall/.

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Before I Fall | Quotes

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1.

The whole point of growing up is learning to stay on the laughing side.


Sam, Prologue

Sam's initial take on life is that some people are popular, and some people are not. Very concerned with maintaining her elevated social status, Sam makes sure to follow Lindsay's rules so she can stay in her good graces and remain popular—that is, be the ones who laugh at others instead of the ones who are laughed at. Her journey in the novel is realizing authenticity and kindness are more important than social status.

2.

The thing is, you don't get to know.


Sam, Prologue

Lauren Oliver speaks here to the ephemeral quality of life and the randomness of death. When a person is born, they never know how long they will be alive. Any moment could be a person's last, and one does not necessarily get to say goodbye or atone for misdeeds.

3.

I wonder if tomorrow everything will look different to me.


Sam, Day 1

Sam's thought here is an example of dramatic irony. She is referring to how she might see the world differently after losing her virginity. But the reader already knows everything will look different tomorrow because Sam will be dead.

4.

It's like a web, you know? Everything's connected.


Ally, Day 1

Ally brings up the butterfly effect, also known as deterministic chaos. Essentially, the universe is impossible to predict with complete accuracy because small changes can yield surprising results. Lauren Oliver's narrative structure is an exploration of deterministic chaos and how it affects Sam and those around her.

5.

I couldn't stop thinking how easy it would be to fall.


Sam, Day 1

Here Sam is thinking both in literal and metaphorical terms. It is significant she thought of physically falling from a cliff on the day she chose to join forces with Lindsay, because being friends with Lindsay requires Sam to break with her innate goodness and become a bully. It shows how irresistible the temptation of popularity and acceptance can be, even though such social success may have disastrous consequences on oneself and others.

6.

A best friend helps you keep your own secrets.


Sam, Day 2

Because Lindsay does not want to face her own secrets and traumas, instead of talking about them she takes out her pain on other people. Sam understands this about Lindsay and considers it her duty as a best friend never to bring up the hard truths. However, Sam eventually learns this way of thinking does not help one accept their authentic self.

7.

Maybe when you die time folds in on you.


Sam, Day 3

Sam is trying to figure out why she keeps reliving Cupid Day over and over, and here she finally accepts she might be dead. She imagines she might be in her "little bubble" forever. Lauren Oliver expands upon this theory of the afterlife in the epilogue, saying "certain moments go on forever."

8.

Here's another thing to remember: hope keeps you alive. Even when you're dead.


Sam, Day 3

When Sam realizes she is stuck in a time loop, she theorizes she might have a chance to return to her life. This theory gives her hope to continue trying. Lauren Oliver contrasts Sam's hope with Juliet Sykes's lack of hope, showing Sam still has agency to change things, whereas Juliet has given in to despair.

9.

It's like the idea of him is better than the him of him.


Sam, Day 3

Sam's observation serves as a pithy commentary on Lauren Oliver's theme of social status versus authenticity. Sam likes the idea of being with Rob Cokran because he confers a high level of social status on her, as he is popular and good looking. However, no true affection or connection exists between them because they do not share their authentic selves.

10.

I didn't do anything. I just followed along.


Sam, Day 4

Sam wants to absolve herself of any wrongdoing because she was never the instigator. She believes it is unfair for her to be punished when Lindsay was more in the wrong. However, Lauren Oliver suggests following along with cruelty can be just as damning as leading the charge.

11.

But this is my voice.


Izzy, Day 5

Izzy is very protective of her authentic self. Sam finds her attitude courageous. Izzy is an example to Sam of how she, too, can reclaim her "voice" and not wither in Lindsay's shadow.

12.

If I could make it better I would.


Kent, Day 5

Sam remarks Kent's words may be the obvious sentiment after a tragedy, but he says it as though "it's the truest thing there is." Kent's compassion speaks to his inherent goodness. This goodness serves as an inspiration for Sam because she actually has the ability to "make it better."

13.

How is it possible ... to change so much and not be able to change anything at all?


Sam, Day 6

After Sam fails to confer status upon Juliet Sykes with her gift of two dozen roses for Cupid Day, she feels a "desperate hopelessness." Sam mistakenly thinks one act of generosity can erase all her years of tormenting a person. Sam will have to give much more to save Juliet, but she has not yet realized it.

14.

I apparently don't know anything about you.


Lindsay, Day 7

Lindsay is too self-absorbed to really try to get to know and accept the true things about her friends. She takes it for granted her friends will like the things she likes, so she is surprised when Sam begins asserting her authentic self and diverges from what Lindsay has deemed acceptable.

15.

I think how just as easily it could have been the other way around.


Sam, Day 7

Sam realizes she and Juliet Sykes are not that different. They have both been Lindsay's pawns and subject to her capriciousness. Had circumstances been even slightly changed, Juliet might still be Lindsay's best friend and Sam might be the one being bullied.

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