All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

by

Jennifer Niven

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All the Bright Places: 51. Violet: April Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Easter Sunday falls on April 5. Violet and her parents drive to the A Street Bridge and climb down to the riverbed, where Eleanor died. In the riverbed, they find a license plate with flowers planted around it. Violet goes cold. She knows that Finch did this—and she also knows that she and her parents have survived the last year. On the drive back home, Violet wonders when Finch was there.
It may be unclear when Finch created this memorial for Eleanor, but it nevertheless shows how deeply Finch cares for Violet (and perhaps even her parents). Creating the memorial, moreover, shows the importance of remembering Eleanor and honoring her without dwelling on the past.
Themes
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
When Violet’s parents don’t say anything about Eleanor, Violet starts to talk about her and Eleanor’s plans to see Boy Parade. It was Eleanor who suggested they follow the band across the Midwest. Violet says that Eleanor was great at taking things a step further than Violet would’ve. She thinks that in that way, Eleanor was a lot like Finch. Violet starts to sing her favorite Boy Parade song, and Violet’s mom joins in.
By opening up and talking about this experience with Eleanor, Violet tries to show her parents how helpful it can be to put their feelings into words. It will allow them to connect with one another and keep Eleanor’s memory alive. Violet’s mom seems to agree with Violet—or at least want to make her happy—when she starts to sing.
Themes
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Back at home, Violet thinks about why she wants to start a magazine. She studies her notes and then looks at the spot where her calendar once hung. Violet thinks of the X’s that she used to mark the days off, just because she wanted those days to be over. In her wandering notebook, she writes: “Germ Magazine. You start here.”
Without Finch or Eleanor to distract her, Violet turns to what she has left: Germ. With the magazine, she wants to give people something that will help them see that there are reasons to live and to enjoy it—just as Finch showed her. This illustrates the power of the written word to connect people and to give them a sense of purpose.
Themes
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
Violet hasn’t heard from Finch since March—but now she’s angry instead of worried. She’s upset at herself for “being so easy to leave” and angry at Finch for leaving. Eventually, Violet puts the few things of Finch’s that she has in a box in her closet. Since Finch has their wandering map, Violet buys another map so she can finish their project. On April 11, Violet borrows the car and visits a museum, but she feels like a tourist. She keeps an eye out for a Saturn SUV and tries to tell herself that she’s over Finch. She imagines how he’d look at her if he could see her driving now.
Violet feels like she has no choice but to process Finch’s disappearance like she would any other breakup. Being upset that she’s “easy to leave,” though, suggests that Violet blames herself for Finch’s disappearance. This weight makes it more difficult for Violet to move on, even as she takes steps like putting away his things and continuing on with their project. Her narration also makes it clear that she’s not over Finch, even though she’d like to be.
Themes
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
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Meanwhile, Ryan and Suze break up, and Ryan asks Violet out. They go to dinner at a fancy restaurant and talk about mundane things. The date is normal and nice, and Ryan is also normal and nice. Suddenly, Violet likes how solid and dependable Ryan is—aside from the stealing. She lets him kiss her when he drops her back at home.
The date with Ryan shows Violet’s life starting to normalize after Finch’s disappearance. And as Violet thinks of Ryan in terms of his solidity and his stealing, she shows that she’s learned to think of people as containing both good and bad elements.
Themes
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
On Saturday afternoon, Amanda stops by and asks to hang out. She and Violet play tennis in the street, and that night, they go to the Quarry. Violet texts Brenda, Lara, and the three Brianas. A bit later, Jordan comes too. The following Friday, Violet goes to the movies with Brenda and then sleeps over at Brenda’s house. Brenda tries to bring up Finch and assures Violet that Finch didn’t leave because of Violet. They stay up all night working on Germ stuff. Violet reads emails out loud from girls at school who want to contribute to the magazine. She realizes that Brenda is her closest friend.
Finch’s disappearance may be difficult for Violet to process, but that doesn’t mean that her life is ending like it seemed to after Eleanor died. Rather, Violet has learned to cope with her grief by reaching out and connecting to others—even Amanda. The fact that they seem to make up suggests that Violet has become more understanding of mental health issues, since she now knows that Amanda has been struggling.
Themes
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon