All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

by

Jennifer Niven

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All the Bright Places: 57. Violet: Remaining wanderings 3 and 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Violet drives to what’s left of the Pendleton Pike Drive-In outside of Indianapolis. It’s been abandoned for decades, and there’s only the screen left. It’s spooky. As Violet heads for the screen, she thinks of Finch’s text from this spot: “I believe in signs.” The back of the screen is covered in graffiti, and suddenly, Violet feels her grief overwhelm her. But she walks to the front of the screen and looks up. It reads: “I was here. TF.” Violet sinks to her knees and wonders what she was doing when Finch was here. She photographs the screen and then walks to it. She finds a can of red spray paint, climbs up the scaffolding, and writes, “I was here too. VM,” under Finch’s words.
The drive-in is, in many ways, a dead—like Finch, Eleanor, and the cardinal are. But the fact that the site is still standing suggests that Violet was right: things don’t have to disappear from memory once they die. The drive-in seems to be a place where she and Finch can leave their mark, along with all the other people who spray painted on the back of the screen. Violet might care most about Finch’s writing, but many people are immortalized here through their words.
Themes
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
Violet heads for Munster, a small town bordered by rivers in Northwest Indiana. She stops at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Monastery, and a friar leads Violet to the shrines. He explains that former Polish chaplains dreamed of creating a monastery in Indiana after World War II; this is the result. The friar walks Violet through an arched doorway and leaves her. Inside are a series of underground hallways. The sparkling rocks that make up the walls glitter in candlelight. Violet explores the tunnels and walks through a room arranged like a church. 
When Violet and Finch began to wander Indiana, Violet insisted that there was nothing to see in the state. Especially now, as Finch leads Violet to this glittering grotto, he’s able to continue to show her that there’s beauty all around her—if only she’s willing to look for it. In this way, Finch also reminds Violet that she wanted to travel and see the world, and that she can start in Indiana.
Themes
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
In the next room, sculptures of the angel Gabriel and Jesus raise the dead. They glow in the blacklight. Violet notices that Jesus is holding a plain rock, which she picks up and exchanges it for an old ring of Eleanor’s. Violet stays for a while and then leaves the grotto. She encounters stairs with a sign asking people to ascend the “holy stairs” on their knees. Violet knows that Finch wouldn’t have cheated, so she drops to her knees. The friar helps her up at the top and notes that people come from all over to see the Ultraviolet Apocalypse. As she heads to the car, she finally looks at the rock in her hand. It’s the rock she and Finch passed back and forth that reads, “Your turn.”
Finding her and Finch’s rock is proof that Finch was here, something that Violet seems to find comforting. Leaving the ring with a depiction of Gabriel and Jesus raising the dead also implies that Finch and Eleanor won’t be gone forever. Though the novel doesn’t go into Violet or Finch’s spiritual beliefs, this nevertheless suggests that there are religious traditions out there that can give Violet some peace as she processes Finch and Eleanor’s deaths.
Themes
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
Later that night, Violet meets Brenda, Charlie, Ryan, and Amanda at the Purina Tower. At the top, they light candles and talk about Finch. Brenda plays a “greatest hits of Finch” playlist and dances. Violet laughs at Brenda’s silly dancing and then joins in. When Violet gets home, she pulls out the map to check out the final destination. She’s unwilling to go, because once she does, the project will be over. The final spot is in Farmersburg, 15 miles from the Blue Hole. Violet checks the corresponding text: “A lake. A prayer. It’s so lovely to be lovely in Private.” When she can’t find anything on the internet about Farmersburg, she realizes that Finch added this place without telling her.
Honoring Finch with all their mutual friends shows that Violet is becoming closer with her community in the aftermath of his death. They can now all support one another as they move on from Finch’s loss. This specific project might be over once Violet visits the final destination, but Finch also seems to be trying to show her that this doesn’t mean her life is over. Indeed, Mr. Embry made it clear that Violet has to continue living and find meaning, even with Finch and Eleanor gone—Violet should keep traveling and exploring.
Themes
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
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