All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

by

Jennifer Niven

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All the Bright Places: 54. Violet: May 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Violet stands in front of her mirror, studying herself. She’s dressed in black and wears Finch’s T-shirt. Her face doesn’t look like it belongs to a girl who has great parents, great friends, and a bunch of college acceptance letters. Violet thinks her face looks like it belongs to a sad girl who has experienced horrible loss. She wonders if she’ll ever see anything but Finch and Eleanor in her reflection, and she wonders if other people can tell. Later, Violet tells her parents that she wants to go to the funeral alone. They’ve been watching her closely. Violet has also caught them exchanging angry looks with each other—they’re furious at Finch’s mom.
Here, Violet articulates the idea that what a person looks like on the outside doesn’t always match what a person feels on the inside. She is, to many people, a college-bound girl with supportive parents and friends. But right now, in the middle of grieving for Finch not long after Eleanor’s death, Violet feels like she’s never going to be anything but sad and grief-stricken. She doesn’t seem to realize yet that she can be both—she can mourn these losses while also looking to the future with hope.
Themes
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
Related Quotes
At the funeral, Finch’s family stands in the front row. Violet studies Finch’s dad’s back and notices that Finch’s entire family is crying. The funeral takes place at the top of a hill in the largest cemetery in town. Violet remembers that Finch wanted to be cremated. Everyone is crying, including Amanda, Ryan, and Roamer. Violet stands next to Brenda and Charlie, and her parents are nearby. Brenda stares at Roamer with an angry expression—Roamer and his friends are the ones who called Finch a “freak.” 
To Violet, it’s further proof that Finch’s parents didn’t care about him or know him well that they chose to have him buried instead of cremated. And Brenda suggests that all the bullies who made Finch miserable are partially to blame for his suicide. Though the novel makes it clear that it was no one person’s fault, this also shows how damaging the stigma surrounding mental health can be. Roamer might not have caused Finch’s suicide, but he contributed to Finch’s feeling that he couldn’t ask for help.
Themes
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
The preacher finishes, and Violet thinks that he didn’t mention suicide at all. Officially, Finch’s death was ruled an accident, since they didn’t find a proper suicide note. But Violet knows it wasn’t an accident. She thinks that “suicide victim” is an “interesting” phrase, since it implies that the person didn’t have a choice in dying. Maybe Finch didn’t feel like he had a choice—but Violet will never know. Angrily, she remembers how Finch was the one who lectured her about the necessity of living. It’s not fair that he left, especially after what happened to Eleanor. Violet can’t remember her last words to Finch, except that they were “angry and normal and unremarkable.”
As Violet thinks about the term “suicide victim,” she realizes that there’s a lot of tension in that term. It doesn’t totally describe a person who chose to take their own life—especially in this case, when the authorities were unable to definitively rule Finch’s death a suicide. The simple fact that Finch didn’t leave a proper note, though, shows how disconnected he was from the written word. He struggled so much to make sense of his own experience that it was impossible to explain himself to someone else.
Themes
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
As the crowd disperses, Charlie mutters about the “phonies,” and Brenda says that Finch is probably watching and flipping everyone off. Violet asks Brenda if she thinks Finch is somewhere. She says she likes to think Finch can’t see them because he’s in a world he designed. Before Brenda can answer, Finch’s mom pulls Violet into a hug. Finch’s dad hugs Violet next, until Violet’s dad pulls her away. Over dinner, Violet listens to her parents talk about Finch’s parents. Violet leaves the table before they can start talking about how selfish Finch was to commit suicide, especially when Eleanor died and didn’t get a choice.
Violet and her family see Finch’s parents’ attempts to hug Violet as rude and invasive. This is especially true since, to Violet and her parents, Violet was the only person who actually cared about Finch. But although Violet and her parents might agree on this, Violet also can’t stomach the way she knows her parents talk about Finch’s suicide. It’s unfair, she thinks, to compare Finch and Eleanor’s deaths.
Themes
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
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Violet sits in her closet and notices her calendar. She studies all the blank days, the ones she didn’t put an X on because she spent them with Finch. She thinks that she hates Finch and wishes she could’ve done something. She wishes she hadn’t let him down and that she’d been enough to make him stay. Violet wonders if it was her fault and asks Finch to come back.
The blank days on Violet’s calendar are reminders of all the happy days she spent with Finch. And her conflicting emotions now that Finch is dead show that it’s going to be difficult to cope with his death.
Themes
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon