All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

by

Jennifer Niven

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Finch’s Dad Character Analysis

Finch, Kate, and Decca’s dad is a tall, burly, former hockey player from Canada. In the present, he’s married to a woman named Rosemarie and lives with her and his stepson, Josh Raymond; he and Finch’s mom divorced a year before the novel begins. Finch explains that his dad suffers from “black moods” and would try to kill anyone who tried to diagnose him with a mental illness. Finch is fairly certain that this is because his dad, like Finch himself, suffers from undiagnosed bipolar disorder. In Finch’s dad, this manifests most often as fits of rage. As Finch thinks and talks about his childhood, he paints a picture of a man who was frightening to live with—Finch’s dad put both Finch’s mom and Finch in the hospital with injuries. Finch also suggests that his dad is disappointed in him because Finch isn’t athletic and isn’t “normal.” Because of this, and because Finch’s dad seldom seems genuinely interested in his three children with Finch’s mom, Finch concludes that his dad prefers his “new family” to his old one. Throughout the novel, Finch wonders whether his dad is actually Josh Raymond’s father—it would make sense that Finch’s dad was cheating on his mom around the time of Josh Raymond’s birth, given what Finch knows of how his dad treated his mom. Finch eventually concludes that his dad probably is Josh Raymond’s father, but he vows to not take this out on Josh Raymond, in part because he knows how difficult it is to live with his dad.

Finch’s Dad Quotes in All the Bright Places

The All the Bright Places quotes below are all either spoken by Finch’s Dad or refer to Finch’s Dad. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ember edition of All the Bright Places published in 2016.
6. Finch: Day 7 of the Awake Quotes

Worthless. Stupid. These are the words I grew up hearing. They’re the words I try to outrun, because if I let them in, they might stay there and grow and fill me up and in, until the only thing left of me is worthless stupid worthless stupid worthless stupid freak. And then there’s nothing to do but run harder and fill myself with other words: This time will be different. This time, I will stay awake.

Related Characters: Theodore Finch (speaker), Finch’s Dad
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
8. Finch: Day 8 of the Awake Quotes

Dad asks about the November/December study-away program, and it takes me a minute to realize he’s talking to me. “Uh, it was okay.” Good one, Kate. I make a note to thank her. He doesn’t know about the shutting down or the trouble at school beyond sophomore year because last year, after the guitar-smashing episode, I told Principal Wertz my dad was killed in a hunting accident. He never bothered to check up on it, and now he calls my mother whenever there’s a problem, which means he actually calls Kate because Mom never bothers to check voicemail.

Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:
18. Finch: Day 15 (still) Quotes

I made the mistake of talking about it once. A few years ago, I asked my then good friend Gabe Romero if he could feel sound and see headaches […] and he went home and told his parents, and they told my teacher, who told the principal, who told my parents, who said to me, Is it true, Theodore? Are you telling stories to your friends? The next day it was all over school, and I was officially Theodore Freak. One year later, I grew out of my clothes because, it turns out, growing fourteen inches in a summer is easy. It’s growing out of a label that’s hard.

Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
21. Finch: Day 22 and I’m still here Quotes

“Why are we doing this, Dec?”

“Because they shouldn’t be in there mixed with the good. They like to trick you.”

And somehow I know what she means. I think of the Bartlett Dirt and all its mean words, not just about me but about every student who’s strange or different. Better to keep the unhappy, mad, bad, unpleasant words separate, where you can watch them and make sure they don’t surprise you when you’re not expecting them.

Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:
25. Finch: Day 27 (I am still here) Quotes

I can go downstairs right now and let my mom know how I’m feeling—if she’s even home—but she’ll tell me to help myself to the Advil in her purse and that I need to relax and stop getting myself worked up, because in this house there’s no such thing as being sick unless you can measure it with a thermometer under the tongue. Things fall into categories of black and white—bad mood, bad temper, loses control, feels sad, feels blue.

Related Characters: Theodore Finch (speaker), Finch’s Mom, Finch’s Dad
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:
42. Finch: Days 65 and 66 Quotes

The thing I know about bipolar disorder is that it’s a label. One you give crazy people. I know this because I’ve taken junior-year psychology and I’ve seen movies and I’ve watched my father in action for almost eighteen years, even though you could never slap a label on him because he would kill you. Labels like bipolar say This is why you are the way you are. This is who you are. They explain people away as illnesses.

Related Characters: Theodore Finch (speaker), Finch’s Dad, Mr. Embry
Page Number: 271-72
Explanation and Analysis:
48. Violet: March 21 and beyond Quotes

“Listen, I’m the freak. I’m the weirdo. I’m the troublemaker. I start fights. I let people down. Don’t make Finch mad, whatever you do. Oh, there he goes again, in one of his moods. Moody Finch. Angry Finch. Unpredictable Finch. Crazy Finch. But I’m not a compilation of symptoms. Not a casualty of shitty parents and an even shittier chemical makeup. Not a problem. Not a diagnosis. Not an illness. Not something to be rescued. I’m a person.”

Page Number: 307
Explanation and Analysis:

“He’ll be back. He always comes back.” That’s just his thing. It’s what he does.

I want to say to her and Charlie and Brenda, to Kate, to his mom: Doesn’t anyone care why he comes and goes? Have you ever stopped to think that something might be wrong with this?

Related Characters: Decca Finch (speaker), Violet Markey (speaker), Finch’s Mom, Finch’s Dad, Brenda, Charlie Donahue, Kate Finch
Page Number: 313
Explanation and Analysis:
54. Violet: May 3 Quotes

In all his words, the preacher doesn’t mention suicide. The family is calling his death an accident because they didn’t find a proper note […]. I stand, thinking how it wasn’t an accident at all and how “suicide victim” is an interesting term. The victim part of it implies they had no choice. And maybe Finch didn’t feel like he had a choice, or maybe he wasn’t trying to kill himself at all but just going in search of the bottom.

Related Characters: Violet Markey (speaker), Theodore Finch, Finch’s Mom, Finch’s Dad
Page Number: 341
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire All the Bright Places LitChart as a printable PDF.
All the Bright Places PDF

Finch’s Dad Character Timeline in All the Bright Places

The timeline below shows where the character Finch’s Dad appears in All the Bright Places. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Finch: I am awake again. Day 6.
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...although he wants to be cremated, Finch’s mom doesn’t believe in cremation. Privately, Finch recalls Finch’s dad saying that they didn’t need to talk about that and upset his mom. He tells... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
...isn’t the real reason. His real reasons change daily: school shootings, kids dying of cancer, Finch’s dad . (full context)
3. Finch: Day 6 (still) of being awake
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...as she ever does as a parent. Finch knows she’s still upset about the divorce; Finch’s dad left her for a younger woman named Rosemarie. Since then, Finch has tried to be... (full context)
8. Finch: Day 8 of the Awake
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
On Sunday evening, Kate, Decca, and Finch drive to Finch’s dad ’s house for their weekly dinner. They’re silent on the drive over. This will be... (full context)
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Finch’s dad greets Kate and Decca and asks Finch how the study-away program was. Finch says it... (full context)
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
...and isn’t awkward like Finch was at that age. That makes Finch think that maybe Finch’s dad isn’t Josh Raymond’s father. Rosemarie serves everyone burgers, but Finch asks for a veggie burger.... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
...back and forth and talk about how “stupid” it is that they have to visit Finch’s dad every week and pretend to like each other. Kate suggests that she might go to... (full context)
12. Finch: The night of the day my life changed
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...that his mom looks “dazed and disconcerted,” as usual. He feels bad for her since Finch’s dad broke her heart and destroyed her self-worth, so he offers to do the dishes. She’s... (full context)
16. Finch: Day 15 (I am still awake)
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Finch is feeling fantastic—he got Violet into the car, and Finch’s dad is out of town for business. He asks her about the accident. Surprisingly, she says... (full context)
18. Finch: Day 15 (still)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...feel everything. When he tried to tell Kate about it once, she suggested it was Finch’s dad ’s fault for hitting him. Finch knows this isn’t true: his headaches are all part... (full context)
21. Finch: Day 22 and I’m still here
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Finch knows something is wrong the moment he walks into Finch’s dad and Rosemarie’s house on Sunday. Rosemarie explains that Finch’s dad is in the basement, and... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...but doesn’t open the garage door. His hands are shaking. Finch has wanted to kill Finch’s dad since his dad first sent his mom to the hospital. A year after that, Finch... (full context)
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
...Josh Raymond since they’re so close in age. Kate wonders if Josh Raymond is actually Finch’s dad ’s son and points out that when Finch was that age, he was also small.... (full context)
24. Violet: 135, 134, 133 days to go
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...asks why he was gone, he says he was remodeling. He also says that unfortunately, Finch’s dad is back in town. (full context)
27. Violet: Saturday
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
...they have an understanding; they just need contact information for Finch’s parents. He asks if Finch’s dad is the Ted Finch of Finch Storage. Finch says he is, but his dad left... (full context)
32. Finch: The first warm day
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...and play a lazy game of Marco Polo. Violet asks Finch about his parents’ divorce, Finch’s dad , and Josh Raymond. Finch explains that his dad has made it clear that the... (full context)
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
Finch says the story’s boring: Finch’s dad gets in “black moods,” and Finch used to be small and not know how to... (full context)
35. Violet: The morning after
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...a kid. Violet realizes her parents called Finch’s. Violet’s dad says that Finch lied about Finch’s dad : his parents divorced last year. Violet remembers Finch saying that lies aren’t really lies... (full context)
37. Finch: What follows
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
When Finch sees Finch’s dad ’s car in the drive, he almost keeps driving. But instead, he stops, enters the... (full context)
41. Finch: Day 64 of the Awake
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Finch’s dad suggests that Finch bring Violet over sometime. Finch imagines the conversation his dad and Violet’s... (full context)
42. Finch: Days 65 and 66
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...seems to know something is wrong. To give him something, Finch tells Mr. Embry that Finch’s dad wasn’t happy, so he got a new family. Finch stumbles in his story when Mr.... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...bipolar is a label that “crazy people” get; he’s taken psychology classes, and he’s watched Finch’s dad for the last 18 years. Labels like bipolar “explain people away as illnesses.” Finch leaps... (full context)
54. Violet: May 3
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...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... (full context)