All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

by

Jennifer Niven

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Finch’s Mom Character Analysis

Finch, Kate, and Decca’s mom has been sad and disaffected since her divorce from Finch’s dad a year before the novel begins. She drinks wine whenever she’s at home and, in Finch’s opinion, seldom makes any effort to actively parent them. She also has had to work two jobs since the divorce; she works as a real estate agent and part-time at the local bookstore. Because of her two jobs, she’s not home much. Finch notes that in general, he and his family don’t show emotion or have honest conversations with one another. So, although Finch’s mom asks her children every night at dinner what they learned that day, she seldom seems genuinely interested in their answers. She’s also not involved in her children’s lives at all—she never checks the voicemails on the family’s landline, for instance, so she never learns that Mr. Embry has concerns about Finch’s well-being, or that Finch skips school for weeks at a time and is ultimately expelled. Finch suggests that part of this has to do with the fact that Finch’s mom doesn’t believe in illnesses that aren’t physical, so she doesn’t take Finch’s headaches (a symptom of his mental illness) seriously when they occur. Instead, she reminds Finch that he’s “sensitive.” Finch’s mom is so distraught when it seems likely that Finch committed suicide that she can’t bear to go find Finch herself—she asks Violet to go. To Violet’s parents in particular, this highlights her ineffectiveness as a parent and an avoidance of the hard, necessary work of parenting her children. Violet’s parents also seem to blame Finch’s mom for Finch’s death.

Finch’s Mom Quotes in All the Bright Places

The All the Bright Places quotes below are all either spoken by Finch’s Mom or refer to Finch’s Mom. 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.
1. Finch: I am awake again. Day 6. Quotes

The thing I don’t say is: I want to stay alive. The reason I don’t say it is because, given that fat folder in front of [Mr. Embry], he’d never believe it. And here’s something else he’d never believe—I’m fighting to be here in this shitty, messed-up world. Standing on the ledge of the bell tower isn’t about dying. It’s about having control. It’s about never going to sleep again.

Related Characters: Theodore Finch (speaker), Mr. Embry, Finch’s Mom
Page Number: 16
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

In 2013, a man in Pennsylvania committed suicide via carbon monoxide, but when his family tried to rescue him, they were overcome by the fumes and every single one of them died before rescue crews could save them.

I think of my mom and Decca and Kate, and then I hit the opener, and up goes the door, and out I go into the wild blue yonder. For the first mile or so, I feel high and excited, like I just ran into a burning building and saved lives, like I’m some sort of hero.

But then a voice in me says, You’re no hero. You’re a coward. You only saved them from yourself.

Related Characters: Theodore Finch (speaker), Finch’s Mom, Decca Finch, Kate Finch
Page Number: 161
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:
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 Mom Character Timeline in All the Bright Places

The timeline below shows where the character Finch’s Mom 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
...the wood chipper at [his] funeral.” He says that 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... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...jokes to avoid the questions, but Mr. Embry doesn’t laugh. Instead, he threatens to call Finch’s mom . Finch promises to behave, take a drug test, and come to counseling twice per... (full context)
3. Finch: Day 6 (still) of being awake
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
When Finch get home, Finch’s mom is defrosting a casserole while she talks on the phone. Finch’s older sister, Kate, grabs... (full context)
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...though he doesn’t really like eating, he likes being able to “turn [his] brain off.” Finch’s mom asks Decca what she learned today. Decca tells the table about how a boy at... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Finch’s mom asks how Finch’s day was, and Finch says it was good. He doesn’t eat—eating, like... (full context)
8. Finch: Day 8 of the Awake
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...the last year—Finch told Principal Wertz that his dad died. Now, the school only calls Finch’s mom , which means they only ever talk to Kate because Finch’s mom never checks voicemail. (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
When the kids get home, Finch’s mom asks if they had fun. Decca says that they didn’t, and she stomps upstairs. Finch’s... (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
It’s dinnertime at Finch’s house. Though Finch’s mom asks Decca what she learned first, Finch asks if he can go first. His mom... (full context)
18. Finch: Day 15 (still)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...Finch gets home, he checks the landline voicemail. There’s a message from Mr. Embry informing Finch’s mom that Finch missed his Friday counseling session—and he’s concerned because he saw the Bartlett Dirt.... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...He moves furniture around to cut his room in half and make it smaller. Though Finch’s mom , Decca, and Kate are all home, nobody asks what he’s doing. The last time... (full context)
20. Violet: 142 days to go
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Finch then leads Violet into the local bookstore, where Finch’s mom works when she’s not selling houses. He pulls muffins and sodas out of a fridge... (full context)
21. Finch: Day 22 and I’m still here
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
When Finch, Kate, and Decca get back home, Finch kisses Finch’s mom and says he’s going out. He gets into Little Bastard and starts the engine but... (full context)
25. Finch: Day 27 (I am still here)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Finch knows he could tell Finch’s mom how he’s feeling, but she’d tell him to take Advil and relax. In Finch’s family,... (full context)
37. Finch: What follows
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...enters the house, and yells, “Come and get me.” Finch’s dad comes running, followed by Finch’s mom and Rosemarie, and he hurls Finch across the kitchen. Finch laughs and tells his dad... (full context)
41. Finch: Day 64 of the Awake
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...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,... (full context)
44. Finch: Days 66 and 67
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
In the morning, Finch checks the landline voicemail. Mr. Embry left one for Finch’s mom that he says is important, but Finch deletes it. Then, he locks himself back in... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Finch is silent during dinner. Afterward, he steals a bottle of sleeping pills from Finch’s mom and swallows half the bottle. He wants to feel what Cesare Pavese felt. Finch stretches... (full context)
46. Violet: March 18
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Violet is driving smoothly when she gets to Finch’s neighborhood. A woman who must be Finch’s mom opens the door, invites Violet in, and gets her water. She says that Finch should... (full context)
47. Finch: Day 75; Violet: March 20
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...school is over, Violet bikes to Finch’s house. He doesn’t answer, and it seems like Finch’s mom and sisters aren’t home. Violet finally heads to her house and sends Finch a Facebook... (full context)
48. Violet: March 21 and beyond
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
...back happy to contribute. Meanwhile, Violet’s mom spends the day trying to get ahold of Finch’s mom . A psychiatrist friend of Violet’s dad speaks to Decca, but Decca only confirms for... (full context)
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...him a voicemail and then rifles through his drawers. Back downstairs, she asks Decca if Finch’s mom got Violet’s mom’s voicemails. Decca says her mom hasn’t, but it’s normal for Finch to... (full context)
50. Violet: The rest of March
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...voicemails. He texts back hours later to say that he’s “found.” Violet’s mom talks to Finch’s mom , who says that Finch is going to check in every week and that they... (full context)
52. Violet: April 26
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...pizza place in Indianapolis with his whole family. He recalls everyone being happy. He tells Finch’s mom that she’s not old, tells Decca that tough words can be beautiful, and warns Kate... (full context)
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
Violet drives to Finch’s house. Finch’s mom starts crying as soon as she sees Violet and wraps her in a tight hug.... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...goes back downstairs to find that Kate has left to look for Finch. Violet asks Finch’s mom to follow her back upstairs. When they get into Finch’s room, Finch’s mom is confused... (full context)
53. Violet: April 26 (part 2)
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
When the sheriff asks for Finch’s mom ’s number, Violet says that she’ll call. Finch’s mom answers the house phone on the... (full context)
54. Violet: May 3
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
...her closely. Violet has also caught them exchanging angry looks with each other—they’re furious at Finch’s mom . (full context)
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...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... (full context)