Study Guide

All the Bright Places Narrator Point of View

By Jennifer Niven

Narrator Point of View

First Person (Central Narrators)/ Finch and Violet

Throughout the book, we switch back and forth between Finch's and Violet's perspectives. Each chapter is helpfully titled "Finch" or "Violet" so we know who's saying what, but their voices are different enough that the labels aren't 100% necessary.

Finch tends to ramble when he's having a manic episode, like the time he tells a stranger about Violet:

"She's named for a flower, and her father hates me, and I want her to know that I'm thinking of her and that this isn't a season of death but one for living." (40.52)

(Whew. We feel winded just reading that run-on.) Toward the end of the book, as Finch is falling into a depression, his chapters become more short and fragmentary. Chapter 46 contains a short quote followed by just four words, stretched across four lines:

I
am
in
pieces.
(46.2-46.5)

Pretty soon after that, we stop hearing from him altogether.

Violet's voice, on the other hand, is more even and thoughtful. (She's always thinking; Finch is always doing.) Even during a burst of inspiration, she speaks in calm, controlled sentences.

Over my desk, I've got this enormous bulletin board, and on it I've tacked black-and-white photographs of writers at work. I take these down and dig through my desk until I come up with a stack of brightly colored Post-its. On one of them, I write: lovely. (22.4)

Her chapters are like yoga class, where Finch's are more like Zumba.

The really useful thing about switching between these two points of view is that we get a clear, full picture of Finch's mental illness. (This is something that no character, including Finch himself, has.) From Finch, we get reports of what his episodes feel like from the inside. From Violet, we learn what they look like from the outside.

In a way, it's frustrating. We can't help but feel that if everyone had shared their knowledge, Finch would've had a happier ending.