All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

by

Jennifer Niven

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All the Bright Places: 19. Finch: Days 16 and 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Since Finch missed his Friday session, he decides to make it up to Mr. Embry by telling him about Violet. First, as usual, Mr. Embry asks Finch if he’s thought about or tried to hurt himself. Finch says he hasn’t, but he also knows the best thing is to say nothing. Then, Mr. Embry startles Finch by saying he read the Bartlett Dirt article. The article bothers Finch, though he tries not to let Mr. Embry see that.
It's significant that Finch feels the need to “make up” his missed session to Mr. Embry. This suggests that Finch truly likes and doesn’t want to worry Mr. Embry, offering some hope that Finch may, at some point, be willing to accept Mr. Embry’s help instead of brushing him off and making jokes.
Themes
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Then, Finch decides to show Mr. Embry how much he has to live for by talking about a girl named Lizzy (so that he doesn’t have to reveal Violet’s name). After a while, Mr. Embry tells Finch to be careful. Finch is annoyed, since Mr. Embry is implying that this relationship will end. He’d like to just be congratulated. Finch starts to think of all the ways Violet might break his heart, so he picks at his chair and thinks up more epitaphs. Mr. Embry brings Finch’s attention back by asking where he’s going to college—his SAT scores are amazing—but Finch isn’t sure. Then, the session ends.
It's important that although Finch tries to make it seem like he has a lot to live for, he’s still considering suicide. Put another way, even Finch thinks of his relationship with Violet as a reason to live, this isn’t enough to save him. The revelation that Finch has exceptional SAT scores drives home how alienated he feels because of his mental illness. High SAT scores offer him a way to succeed, as he could get into a good college and set himself up for a successful future—but instead of taking that opportunity, Finch is unmoored and noncommittal.
Themes
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
The high school is huge, so Finch doesn’t see Violet much. On Tuesday, he decides to walk Violet to every one of her classes. He spends his day running all over and unfortunately runs into Principal Wertz. Wertz reminds Finch that he’s on probation, so Finch walks until he’s out of the principal’s sight. But as Finch runs up the stairs, he crashes into Roamer, who then bumps into Amanda. Finch continues to run until he gets to Violet. She’s angry and says he’s driving her crazy. Finch leans in close, angry now as well. But then the baseball coach, Mr. Kappel, yanks Finch back and gives both him and Violet detention.
Thanks to the first-person narration, readers know exactly why Finch chooses to walk Violet to class: he’s falling for her, and he wants to spend as much time with her as possible so that he can impress her. But this isn’t something that his classmates see. Instead, Principal Wertz and Mr. Kappel see Finch as a troublemaker, while Roamer and Amanda become even more entrenched in their perception of Finch as weird and unpredictable.
Themes
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon