Before I Fall

by

Lauren Oliver

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Kent McFuller Character Analysis

Kent is Sam’s childhood sweetheart, and an offbeat but nonetheless likable nerd who attempts, despite the social divisions now dividing them, to connect with Sam even after all the years of estrangement between them. Kent throws a party on the night of Cupid Day—his parents are out of town, and, as he eventually reveals to Sam, he knew that if he had a party, she would probably show up to it. At the beginning of the novel, Sam can hardly stand Kent, but as she relives Cupid Day over and over again, she comes to see how deeply Kent cares for her and how easily he sees past the cool veneer she has crafted for herself over the years. Despite her relationship with Rob, Sam begins developing feelings for Kent, and though she grows increasingly frustrated and disheartened by the repetition of the time loop, she begins looking forward to connecting with Kent every day. Kent is an empathetic and genuinely kind friend, whose reluctance to engage in the cruelty and social posturing that is the norm at his high school makes him a truly unique character.

Kent McFuller Quotes in Before I Fall

The Before I Fall quotes below are all either spoken by Kent McFuller or refer to Kent McFuller. 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:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of Before I Fall published in 2010.
Chapter 1  Quotes

I know some of you are thinking maybe I deserved it. Maybe I shouldn’t have sent that rose to Juliet or dumped my drink on her at the party. Maybe I shouldn’t have copped off Lauren Lornet’s quiz. Maybe I shouldn’t have said those things to Kent. There are probably some of you who think I deserved it because I was going to let Rob go all the way—because I wasn’t going to save myself. But before you start pointing fingers, let me ask you: is what I did really so bad? So bad I deserved to die? So bad I deserved to die like that? Is what I did really so much worse than what anybody else does? Is it really so much worse than what you do?

Page Number: 80-81
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

“It’s not my fault I can’t be like you, okay? I don’t get up in the morning thinking the world is one big shiny, happy place, okay? That’s just not how I work. I don’t think I can be fixed.” I meant to say, I don’t think “it” can be fixed, but it comes out wrong, and suddenly I’m on the verge of crying. […] There’s a moment of silence that seems to last forever. Then Kent rests his hand on my elbow just for a second, [and] just that one little touch gives me the chills.

“I was going to tell you that you look beautiful with your hair down. That’s all I was going to say.” Kent’s voice is steady and low. He moves around me to the head of the stairs, pausing just at the top. When he turns back to me he looks sad, even though he’s smiling the tiniest bit. “You don’t need to be fixed, Sam.” He says the words, but it’s like I don’t even hear them; it’s like they go through my whole body at the same time, like I’m absorbing them from the air. […] I’m a nonperson, a shadow, a ghost. Even before the accident I’m not sure that I was a whole person—that’s what I’m realizing now. And I’m not sure where the damage begins.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Kent McFuller (speaker)
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

The wind shrieks, and I suddenly realize that Juliet's only a half inch from the road, teetering on the thin line where the pavement begins, like she's balancing on a tightrope.

“Maybe you should come away from the road,” I say, but all the time in the back of my head, there’s an idea growing and swelling, a horrible, sickening realization, massing up and taking shape like clouds on the horizon. Someone calls my name again. And then, still in the distance, I hear the throaty wail of “Splinter” by Fallacy pumping from someone's car.

“Sam! Sam!” I recognize it as Kent's voice now.

Juliet turns to face me then. She’s smiling, but it's the saddest smile I’ve ever seen.

“Maybe next time,” she says. “But probably not.”

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Kent McFuller (speaker), Juliet Sykes (speaker)
Related Symbols: Roses
Page Number: 323-324
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

In my head I've been saying good-bye to everything, all these places I’ve seen so often I start to ignore them: the deli on the hill with perfect chicken cutlets and the trinket store where I used to buy thread to make friendship bracelets and the Realtor’s and the dentist's and the little garden where Steve King put his tongue in my mouth in seventh grade, and I was so surprised I bit down. I can't stop thinking about how strange life is, about Kent and Juliet and even Alex and Anna and Bridget and Mr. Shaw and Ms. Winters—about how complex and connected everything is, all threaded together like some vast, invisible netting—and how sometimes you can think you're doing the right thing, but it's actually terrible and vice versa.

Page Number: 424
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Before I Fall LitChart as a printable PDF.
Before I Fall PDF

Kent McFuller Character Timeline in Before I Fall

The timeline below shows where the character Kent McFuller appears in Before I Fall. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
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...talk to Sam. Rob was Sam’s first-ever crush, and though she’d kissed a boy named Kent McFuller on the playground in third grade, she’d never had feelings for anyone until she... (full context)
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...the card says “Don’t drink and love.” Sam knows immediately that the rose is from Kent McFuller—a classmate who writes for the school humor paper. Sam looks over at Kent’s desk—Kent... (full context)
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After class, Kent approaches Sam to tell her that his parents are going away for the weekend, and... (full context)
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...from nerdy guys. Sam asks Ally if their group is really going to go to Kent McFuller’s party, but Ally insists it’ll be okay, since she’s heard that there will be... (full context)
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As the girls load themselves into Lindsay’s car and drive to Kent’s house, Sam has a strange feeling—as if she is “floating above everything.” Elody howls along... (full context)
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Kent’s house is far back in the woods, and as the girls drive down the long... (full context)
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...into kiss Sam, but she turns away and looks for her friends. Instead she spots Kent McFuller talking to a girl—Sam feels annoyed that he hasn’t noticed her yet. Rob whispers... (full context)
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At that moment, Kent enters the room. He locks eyes with Sam, who immediately feels hot and uncomfortable. Sam... (full context)
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...feeling exactly the same, she begins to cry. She thinks that the whole night is Kent’s fault, and Juliet Sykes’s.  (full context)
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...drink on her at the party, cheated off Lauren Lornet, and said awful things to Kent, many people will think she got exactly what she deserved. But, Sam begs her readers,... (full context)
Chapter 2 
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...his lukewarm note is exactly the same. The pale, blond Cupid delivers Sam’s rose from Kent, again, and though the Cupid comments on how beautiful the rose is, Sam snaps at... (full context)
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Kent, deflated, nevertheless still invites Sam to his party that evening, but before he can get... (full context)
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...her pocket—it’s the same text from Lindsay as yesterday, asking if she is in for Kent’s party. Sam writes back her same reply, “Obv,” and then heads into the cafeteria for... (full context)
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The girls, once again, pull up to Kent McFuller’s house and enter the party, heading upstairs to the center of the action. Lindsay... (full context)
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...is long, though, and she tries to let herself into a bedroom—it is locked, and Kent McFuller comes up behind her to joke that it is the “VIP room.” Sam, overwhelmed,... (full context)
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...way out of the room, and when she finally makes it to the front door, Kent is standing there, ready to confront her. “Don’t even think about it,” Sam says, and... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...okay. She flirts a little bit with Mr. Daimler, and after class, she knows that Kent will come up to her in the hallway. When he does, she talks to him... (full context)
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Sam experiences a vivid memory of playing with maple seeds with Kent, adorning themselves with the pellets so that “everyone would know [they] were in love.” Sam... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...class to take their seats. As the lesson begins, Sam fantasizes about kissing Mr. Daimler—until Kent walks in, late and disheveled, complaining about a printer problem at the school newspaper. Kent... (full context)
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...Sam to take a seat—she asks him if he isn’t “enjoying the view.” Sam hears Kent, in the back of the classroom, swear under his breath. Mr. Daimler tells Sam to... (full context)
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...almost feels embarrassed, but quickly remembers that none of what’s happening to her is real. Kent sends her a note which reads “You are too good for that,” and Sam, despite... (full context)
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...beer, and she starts to head upstairs with him. On the staircase she collides with Kent, who starts talking to her—he tells her to stay away from Daimler, who is a... (full context)
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Kent, disappointed, tells Sam that everyone’s right about her. Sam berates Kent for pretending he’s better... (full context)
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...she roams through the halls, making her way to a part of the house which Kent has deemed off-limits to partygoers. The living room is dark, and one wall is almost... (full context)
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Sam apologizes for coming back to the living room despite the do-not-enter signs, but Kent insists the sign was for “other people.” Sam asks Kent why he threw his first... (full context)
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Kent leads Sam through his giant house to a secluded guest room where the sounds of... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...is a thin, pale, blond girl whom Sam recognizes as the Cupid who handed her Kent’s rose in math class—she realizes the girl is Juliet’s little sister. (full context)
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...morning, Sam swore there was “nothing in the world” that could make her go to Kent’s party again, but now, she leaps from bed and dons a jacket and sneaks out... (full context)
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Sam dawdles on the way to Kent’s house, though, unsure of what to do, and finds herself navigating to the street where... (full context)
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...come back tomorrow. As Sam walks back to her car, she decides to go to Kent’s house and find Juliet, doing whatever she can to stop her from trying to kill... (full context)
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...the shoulder of the street and runs through the rainy woods with a flashlight, toward Kent’s house. Upon entering the party, Sam is greeted with stares—she doesn’t blame her classmates, as... (full context)
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Sam sends someone to get Kent—when he comes back, Sam asks him to pick the lock and get Juliet out. He... (full context)
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...some level knows, with a terrible sinking feeling, what is going to happen. Sam hears Kent’s voice calling her name, and sees Lindsay’s car coming down the road. Juliet turns to... (full context)
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Kent comes up behind Sam, and asks if she’s okay. Sam is in shock, and can... (full context)
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...scream coming from the woods and watches as Lindsay stumbles up to the road, crying. Kent is supporting Ally as they walk up to the highway. Lindsay screams that Elody is... (full context)
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Kent places his hands on Sam’s arms and she tells him she needs to go find... (full context)
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Realizing that Sam’s clothes are soaking, Kent urges Sam to take a warm shower and put on a pair of fresh pajamas.... (full context)
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Kent leads her to his own bedroom—a giant room bathed in beautiful moonlight. Kent helps Sam... (full context)
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Sam asks Kent to promise he will stay beside her throughout the night, and he agrees. Sam thinks... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...moves through the halls between classes that morning, she finds herself scanning the crowds for Kent—she has an “incredible urge” to be around him. Before calculus, when Sam knows she’ll see... (full context)
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At lunch, Sam laughs with her friends, but scans the cafeteria repeatedly for signs of Kent or Juliet. Sam zones back into the conversation when Juliet’s name is mentioned—Sam knows that... (full context)
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...with Izzy, spend real quality time with her friends rather than just gossiping, and kiss Kent McFuller. (full context)
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At that moment, amazingly, Kent comes right up behind Sam. He tells her that it’s too bad she wasn’t in... (full context)
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Sam tells Kent she’s heard he’s having a party tonight, and that it’s the “place to be”—but she... (full context)
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...girls drive to the party, Sam goes over what she is going to say to Kent in her head again and again—she’s planning on asking him to hang out. At the... (full context)
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Sam sees Kent in the corner of a room upstairs, talking to another girl. Sam turns around to... (full context)
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...go wait for her completely naked inside the nearby bedroom with stickers all over the door—Kent’s room. Rob stumbles quickly toward the room, and Sam calls that she’ll be there in... (full context)
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Ally comes up to Sam, who has by now lost sight of Kent. Sam asks Ally if she’s seen Kent anywhere, but Ally hasn’t, and besides, Sam decides... (full context)
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...amused to feel bad for Rob. She laughs with Ally, who then tells her that Kent is behind them. Sam attempts to drag Ally with her towards him, but Ally scoots... (full context)
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...focus that day despite all the other good she’s doing. She worries that talking to Kent will be hopeless—she doesn’t have words to describe how wrong she’s been about everyone and... (full context)
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This reminds Sam of what she said to Kent a couple days ago about how she herself couldn’t be fixed, but now she knows... (full context)
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...keep up as she is stopped by an angry Alex Liment and then an elated Kent McFuller, who is thrilled to see that Sam has come. All day, Sam has just... (full context)
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Lindsay leaves the car and nods at the car idling behind them—it is Kent’s car. He has been parked behind them the whole time, waiting to take Sam home... (full context)
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Kent opens the passenger-side door of his car for Sam and she slides in. On the... (full context)
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Kent reaches out and cups Sam’s face in his hands but then pulls them away, apologizing.... (full context)
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...two break away and confess how much they like each other. After a moment, though, Kent realizes how tired Sam is, and helps her out of the car and toward the... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Kent walks in, and Sam watches lovingly as he slides into his seat and fiddles with... (full context)
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Kent tells Sam that he’s having a party tonight—she tells him she’s heard, and that she... (full context)
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Sam asks Kent if she can count on him tonight, and he says that she can. Sam realizes... (full context)
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The girls pull up to Kent’s house, and Sam tells them to go inside—she’s planning on driving Lindsay’s car back to... (full context)
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Sam texts Kent to pick her up at Lindsay’s, and then heads there herself. She worries, though, that... (full context)
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Kent picks Sam up at Lindsay’s, and doesn’t ask any questions—why Sam was there, or why... (full context)
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It was Kent who called Sam—as he makes his way over to her, Sam is torn between going... (full context)
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Sam runs through the woods behind Kent’s house, calling for Juliet, while behind her, she hears Kent’s voice calling for her. There’s... (full context)
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...the truck roars by, the woods quiet, and Sam hears Lindsay calling her name—along with Kent, Elody, and Ally. Juliet, frightened, asks why Sam couldn’t just leave her alone. Sam tells... (full context)
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...though, says that she can’t be fixed. Sam thinks of standing on the stairs with Kent and saying the same thing—she remembers the way he told her she didn’t need to... (full context)
Epilogue
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...Ally and Elody; embracing Lindsay; enjoying Christmas with her family; and lastly, she remembers kissing Kent. That, Sam says, was the moment she realized time didn’t matter—that certain moments go on... (full context)