All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

by

Jennifer Niven

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All the Bright Places: 16. Finch: Day 15 (I am still awake) Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Finch shows up at Violet’s house early and introduces himself to her parents. They invite him for breakfast and tell him about Violet before the accident. When Violet comes downstairs, they’ve just told Finch about how Violet and Eleanor once chased the band Boy Parade across three states for an interview. Violet looks mortified.
Talking to Violet’s parents like this is a deliberate move on Finch’s part. He realizes that he’s not going to get much information out of Violet about what she was like before Eleanor’s death. But her parents, who desperately want to see their daughter return to normal, seem more than willing to share.
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Violet and Finch go outside, and Violet tells Finch where they’re going. As she goes to get her bike, Finch says he didn’t bring his—and he promises to drive slowly and stop if she wants to. He points out that they’ve seen all they can bike to and asks her to at least sit in the car. Violet snaps that Finch is selfish and can’t make people do things, but Finch says that he just got a good picture from Violet’s parents of how she used to be. No one, he says, is willing to push her and upset her, but she needs a shove. Angry, Violet pushes past Finch and climbs into the passenger seat of Little Bastard. 
Violet’s anger at being talked into getting into Little Bastard shows that healing isn’t always comfortable and natural. Rather, moving on from one’s grief sometimes requires making choices that are difficult and uncomfortable. And while it’s possible to take issue with Finch’s pushiness, Finch also seems to recognize that he's in a unique position to be able to help Violet. The rest of her support network, he suggests, would never dream of pushing her this hard to move on out of fear of losing Violet’s trust.
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Violet notices the blanket and pillow in the backseat, but Finch promises he’s not trying to seduce her. From the lawn, Finch tells her to put on her seatbelt and close the door. Then, he walks around and leans in the driver’s side door. Violet sighs, “okay.” Finch drives slowly and asks Violet if she’s okay at each block. When they get onto the main drag, Finch speeds up a little—but he’s still driving slowly enough to anger other drivers. To keep himself from trying to race them, he talks about how, as a kid, he’d run in circles until he wore a ring into the carpet.
Finch and Violet’s relationship may be new, but Violet nevertheless shows that she trusts Finch by agreeing to ride as a passenger in his car. And Finch shows how much he cares for Violet by driving slowly to make sure she stays comfortable. His desire to please Violet shines through here, as it seems to take a lot of effort for him to not race the other, faster cars—and he resists for Violet’s sake. 
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Finch is feeling fantastic—he got Violet into the car, and Finch’s dad is out of town for business. He asks her about the accident. Surprisingly, she says that Eleanor was upset but wouldn’t let Violet drive. Violet had suggested the A Street Bridge, and she remembers Eleanor screaming and flying through the air—and then she woke up in the hospital. Finch asks Violet about Eleanor, and she says that Eleanor was funny, sweet, and stubborn. She was her best friend. Finch has never had a best friend, and he asks what it’s like. Violet says it means you can be yourself, and fights aren’t so scary. She apologizes about Roamer. Finch says that “sorry wastes time.” It’s essential to live life like you’ll never have to be sorry.
It’s unclear if Violet has told anyone else (like Mrs. Kresney, her counselor) exactly what happened during the accident. But it’s nevertheless telling that she chooses to tell Finch now, as this shows how much she trusts him. Especially considered alongside the fact that Finch got Violet into a car again, this suggests that Violet and Finch’s relationship is helping Violet to heal. Finch is providing her a space where she feels safe, and as though she can talk about these difficult experiences without people accusing her of being unwilling to move on.
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Finch and Violet pull in at the Bookmobile Park, a stretch of flat land with parked trailers. Violet explains that she and her family used to go on bookstore hunts and go looking for copies of specific books. As soon as the car stops, Violet heads for the first bookmobile. There, a woman introduces herself to Finch and explains the history of the bookmobiles (they used to tour the state until the 1980s, when she and her husband bought and parked them). The woman leads Finch through the trailers and Violet finds an armful of books she’d like to buy.
This trip to the Bookmobile Park allows Violet to remember the past while, at the same time, making new, happy memories with Finch. This suggests that Violet is starting to realize that she doesn’t have to forget the past or Eleanor in order to move on. She can, through activities like this, honor Eleanor while also living and enjoying her life.
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Finch gives the woman cash for the books, and while she goes to get change, Finch and Violet peruse the other trailers and choose a few more books. When the woman gets back, she insists that Finch keep the change, so he hides a $20 bill in a trailer. Then, Finch and Violet head back toward the car. Violet says they’re done with their project now, but Finch says they need to get Violet out of her safe zone. Violet walks ahead and ignores Finch, but this doesn’t bother him. Most people ignore him. He takes off running and pictures himself dead. Violet passes him and wins their race to the car. Finch gives her the notebook and says that they’re going to one more place today.
It's no doubt uncomfortable for Violet to hear Finch talking about getting her out of her comfort zone, and Finch seems uniquely able to pressure her to try new things. This is, in part, because it doesn’t bother him when she ignores him, since people often ignore him anyway. So, any of Violet’s protests might not affect Finch as much as they would someone else.
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