All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

by

Jennifer Niven

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All the Bright Places: 41. Finch: Day 64 of the Awake Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It snows on the last Sunday of spring break. Finch spends the morning with Decca, building a snowman and sledding. As they walk home from the sledding hill, Decca says she doesn’t want to go see her and Finch’s dad later. Finch admits that he doesn’t want to go either, but he tells Decca that the visits mean a lot to their dad. Finch’s mom told him this once; he’s not sure he believes it, but Decca might. Later, Finch, Decca, and Kate head for their dad’s house. Bored of sitting around in the living room, Finch goes to the bathroom. While he’s in there, Violet texts and asks if she should sneak over. Finch says he’s “in hell” but will get home soon.
Talking to Decca about how necessary it is to see their dad is Finch’s way of trying to take care of his family and make things easier for them. It doesn’t matter to him that he doesn’t believe his dad gets anything out of the visits—in order to maybe make life easier for Decca, it’s worth seeing if she’ll believe it. So, this is another instance in which the lie might not be a lie if it feels true, if only to one person.
Themes
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
On Finch’s way back from the bathroom, he passes Josh Raymond’s room, and the little boy invites Finch inside. The room is huge and filled with fancy, battery-operated toys. Finch tries to push away his jealousy of all the Legos and then notices his beloved old stick horses. When Finch asks Josh Raymond about the horses, Josh Raymond seems uninterested in them. Finch struggles with the urge to hit Finch’s dad over the head with them, but instead, he reminds himself what it was like to grow up with his dad. Josh Raymond takes Finch’s hand as they head back to the living room.
Finding his stick horses in Josh Raymond’s room makes Finch feel even angrier at his dad. His dad is, in Finch’s mind, trying to essentially do parenthood all over again with a different kid—and this makes Finch feel even less loved and appreciated. But though Finch resents his dad, he also realizes it’s important to not resent Josh Raymond. Josh Raymond might need support in the future, since Finch’s dad is violent.
Themes
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Finch’s dad suggests that Finch bring Violet over sometime. Finch imagines the conversation his dad and Violet’s dad had; he imagines his dad saying that Finch is a “major-disappointment-weirdo-fuckup.” Finch counts as fast as he can and then excuses himself. He walks all the way home to get Little Bastard and then takes off driving for what seems like hours. Around sunset, Little Bastard doesn’t seem fast enough, even though Finch is driving 90 miles per hour. Finch pulls over and feels ready to vomit. When he doesn’t, he starts running and leaves Little Bastard behind. He tells himself that he’ll be okay, and that everything will be okay.
The simple fact that Finch’s dad doesn’t acknowledge that he may have seriously damaged Finch’s relationship with Violet and her parents speaks to how disconnected he is from his kids’ lives. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that Violet’s dad would be upset—or that whatever he said about Finch might’ve contributed to that. And this makes Finch feel even less understood and more alone in his family.
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Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Finch starts to pass farms and then sees a commercial nursery. There are a bunch of cars in the drive and people laughing inside. Finch knocks on the door, and an old woman answers. Finch apologizes but explains that he’s on his way to see his girlfriend and he needs flowers. It’s an emergency; he wants Violet to know that “this isn’t a season of death but one for living.” The woman’s husband leads Finch to the greenhouses. He tells Finch to take what he needs. In the greenhouse, Finch wants to stay forever amid all the living plants. The man helps Finch pick out a bunch of flowers and then drives him back to Little Bastard.
Though Finch tells this couple that he needs to show Violet that this is a “season for living,” it seems likely that he also needs the reminder. The fact that Finch sems to feel so safe and supported in the greenhouse, among all the growing plants, suggests that he may be struggling with his own thoughts about death and destruction. Getting Violet the flowers, then, is a nice thing to do for her—but it’s also a way for Finch to remind himself to stay present and alive.
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Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
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Finch gets to Violet’s house after 11 p.m. and sits in Little Bastard, smoking. He doesn’t want to disturb her but tells her to come down to talk. She comes out in her pajamas as it starts to snow again. Violet asks how long Finch has been out here; he’s shivering. He doesn’t remember. Finch pulls out the bucket of flowers, and Violet opens it. She embraces Finch and tells him he brought her the spring. Later, Finch sits in Little Bastard outside his house. It seems like in the car, Violet is everywhere. Finch thinks of how Violet looks at him, like she can see right into him—she sees a Finch that not even Finch knows exists.
The fact that Finch doesn’t remember how long he’s been outside of Violet’s house suggests that his mental state is worsening. When Violet insists that Finch brought her spring, it suggests that Violet is truly healing from Eleanor (this is further evidenced by her happiness and her work on Germ). But Finch, on the other hand, seems to be struggling to make “spring” arrive for himself. His mental illness makes it hard to believe that he’ll experience good things again.
Themes
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon