All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

by

Jennifer Niven

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Mr. Embry Character Analysis

Mr. Embry is Finch’s school counselor. They meet every Friday and, after Mr. Embry catches Finch on the belltower at school, he insists they meet on Mondays as well. Mr. Embry is a serious and humorless man in Finch’s opinion, since he never laughs when Finch jokes about killing himself. Indeed, Mr. Embry regularly reminds Finch that he has a legal obligation to keep Finch alive—and he’d face a lawsuit if Finch were to kill or hurt himself on school property. But Finch also knows that Mr. Embry cares deeply for him, since he keeps trying to connect with Finch. At times, Finch seems to return the affection, as when he decides he has to “give Mr. Embry something” and so tells him about his budding relationship with Violet. Mr. Embry’s response, though—a warning for Finch to be careful with his heart—doesn’t sit well with Finch, and it signifies a break in Finch and Mr. Embry’s relationship. This rift only intensifies when, a few sessions later, Mr. Embry asks Finch about bipolar disorder. Though it seems as though Mr. Embry tries to get Finch help by calling Finch’s mom even after Finch is expelled, Finch rejects the help and deletes the voicemails. Following Finch’s death by suicide, Violet asks to have her mandatory counseling session with Mr. Embry. During this session, Mr. Embry notes that while both he and Violet blame themselves for Finch’s suicide, assigning blame isn’t a fruitful or healthy endeavor. It’s essential, he suggests, that they both learn to live after Finch’s death.

Mr. Embry Quotes in All the Bright Places

The All the Bright Places quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Embry or refer to Mr. Embry. 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 fact is, I was sick, but not in an easily explains flu kind of way. It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other recognizable disease just to make it simple for me and also for them. Anything would be better than the truth: I shut down again. I went blank.

Related Characters: Theodore Finch (speaker), Mr. Embry
Page Number: 15-16
Explanation and Analysis:

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:
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:
44. Finch: Days 66 and 67 Quotes

Most people haven’t heard of [the Nest Houses], but one old man tells me, “Sorry you came all this way. I’m afraid they been ate up by the weather and the elements.”

Just like all of us. The Nest Houses have reached their life expectancy. I think of the mud nest we made for the cardinal, all those years ago, and wonder if it’s still there. I imagine his little bones in his little grave, and it is the saddest thought in the world.

Related Characters: Theodore Finch (speaker), Mr. Embry
Related Symbols: The Cardinal
Page Number: 276
Explanation and Analysis:
55. Violet: May—weeks 1, 2, and 3 Quotes

Then he adds, “I feel responsible.”

I want to send his computer and books crashing to the floor. You can’t feel responsible. I’m responsible. Don’t try to take that from me.

He continues, “But I’m not. I did what I felt I could do. Could I have done more? Possibly. Yes. We can always do more. It’s a tough question to answer, and, ultimately, a pointless one to ask. You might be feeling some of the same emotions and having some of these same thoughts.”

Related Characters: Mr. Embry (speaker), Violet Markey (speaker), Theodore Finch
Page Number: 347
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire All the Bright Places LitChart as a printable PDF.
All the Bright Places PDF

Mr. Embry Character Timeline in All the Bright Places

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Embry 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.
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
...In response, Finch shouts a thanks to Violet for saving him. He catches his counselor, Mr. Embry ’s, eye below, and he allows Violet to help him over the wall. People applaud... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...club). After coming down from the belltower, Finch heads for the counseling office, and soon, Mr. Embry waves him in. Mr. Embry asks why Finch was in the belltower and whether Finch... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
This settled, Mr. Embry asks about Finch’s illness at the end of last semester, supposedly with the flu. Finch... (full context)
18. Finch: Day 15 (still)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
When 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... (full context)
19. Finch: Days 16 and 17
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Since Finch missed his Friday session, he decides to make it up to Mr. Embry by telling him about Violet. First, as usual, Mr. Embry asks Finch if he’s thought... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
Then, Finch decides to show Mr. Embry how much he has to live for by talking about a girl named Lizzy (so... (full context)
25. Finch: Day 27 (I am still here)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...the print book he finds. Finch vows to stay awake, and he even considers calling Mr. Embry . (full context)
42. Finch: Days 65 and 66
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
...on smiling as he walks her to class and then heads to his appointment with Mr. Embry . (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Mr. Embry seems to know something is wrong. To give him something, Finch tells Mr. Embry that... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Mr. Embry asks Finch what he knows about bipolar disorder. Finch smiles a flat smile and makes... (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,... (full context)
55. Violet: May—weeks 1, 2, and 3
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
...was an “accident,” this means everyone can mourn him in public. She requests to see Mr. Embry . Mr. Embry starts by saying he feels responsible for Finch’s death. Violet feels angry—she’s... (full context)
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
Mr. Embry opens up a booklet and reads from it. It says as a survivor, a person’s... (full context)
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
When Violet notes that Finch’s family insists it was an accident, Mr. Embry says it doesn’t matter. He just cares that Violet is okay. He tells her that... (full context)