Study Guide

All the Bright Places Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

By Jennifer Niven

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

"Let me ask you something. Do you think there's such a thing as a perfect day?"

"What?"

"A perfect day. Start to finish. When nothing terrible or sad or ordinary happens. Do you think it's possible?" (1.52-1.54)

Finch is obsessed with the idea of a perfect day. He tells Violet that he found one with her.

This time last year, I would have loved to talk about college. Eleanor and I used to do this sometimes after Mom and Dad had gone to bed. (2.17)

Violet's co-conspirator was Eleanor. They always talked about their hopes, dreams, and plans. After Eleanor died, those dreams died with her.

Since the summer before seventh grade, NYU's creative writing program has been my dream. […] My plan was to apply for early admission in October. But then the accident happened and I changed my mind. (2.19)

Violet says she crossed NYU off her list because of snow (which she now hates). Do you think there's anything else going on here?

And then below these giant white letters are column after column, line after line, that say Before I die I want to ______. And the blanks have been filled in with different colors of chalk, smudged and half melted from the rain and snow, in all different handwriting. (17.5)

It turns out Violet wants to drive again. Finch wants to meet Boy Parade and kiss Violet. He gets one of those wishes, anyway.

Even though it isn't much yet, I take a picture and send it to Finch. I write: Look what you've got me doing. (22.6)

Finch gets Violet writing again by tricking her into taking notes for their school project. Eventually, it leads to her planning a new web magazine.

Then we're under the blanket again, discussing all the places in the world we want to wander […] Without consulting the computer, we list the places we might go, taking turns. (38.28, 38.32)

Violet and Finch make plans for their future, traveling together beyond the confines of Indiana. It doesn't happen for him, but she still hopes to wander.

She sets down the bucket and undoes the latch. For a few seconds, all she does is breathe in the scent of the flowers, and then she turns to me and, without a word, kisses me. When she pulls away, she says, "No more winter at all. Finch, you brought me spring." (40.78)

During a manic episode, Finch makes a grand romantic gesture of bringing Violet flowers. They represent hope.

As she exhales, she says, "He's supposed to go to NYU, you know."

"Who?"

"Theo." […] "He got early acceptance." (52.29-52.30)

Ironically, Finch was going to go to NYU, which was once Violet's dream school. Now, neither of them will be going (unless Violet transfers there later).

Theodore Finch, April 3. "Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!" (56.29)

Finch and Violet are all about Oh, the Places You'll Go!, the Dr. Seuss book. Finch knew the words by heart.

I think of my own epitaph, still to be written, and all the places I'll wander. No longer rooted, but gold, flowing. I feel a thousand capacities spring up in me. (59.6)

The book ends on a hopeful note, with Violet looking toward the future. We're happy for her.