Study Guide

All the Bright Places Exploration

By Jennifer Niven

Exploration

"I suggest a field trip. We need to see the wondrous sights of Indiana while we still can, because at least three of us in this room are going to graduate and leave our great state at the end of this year…." (3.11)

Finch is all about field trips, but Mr. Black is a step ahead of him. He wants his students to take more than one field trip around the glorious state of Indiana.

"You'll be departing our…great state, and before…you do, you should…see it. You should…wander…." (3.13)

Just FYI, this is how Mr. Black talks. (We didn't leave anything out.) He wants his students to gather their rosebuds while they may.

I've got a map in my car that wants to be used, and I think there are places we can go that need to be seen. Maybe no one else will ever visit them and appreciate them or take the time to think they're important, but maybe even the smallest places mean something. (3.84)

Finch is pretty, pretty, pretty excited about this road trip. So excited that he sent the longest chat ever in the history of chatting, excerpted here.

We alternate choosing places to go, but we also have to be willing to go where the road takes us. This means the grand, the small, the bizarre, the poetic, the beautiful, the ugly, the surprising. Just like life. (4.4)

This is one of Finch's "rules for wandering." Life is a highway, etc.

Then his voice turns light again and he is singing the words. You'll find the bright places where the Boom Bands are playing. (20.34-20.35)

By now, you probably recognize this quote (from Oh, the Places You'll Go!). That book is all about exploring life—and this one is, too.

I tell myself that we can just take off in Little Bastard and head west or east, north or south, till we've left Indiana far behind. We'll wander the country and then the world, just Theodore Finch and me. (38.9)

Violet and Finch fantasize about a road trip, but it never happens.

Even when we weren't wandering, even from the floor of your closet, you showed the world to me. (55.57)

We're pretty impressed that Finch managed to lure his normal otherwise normal girlfriend into the closet where he was living. Now, that's charm.

And then I find it in my bag, on my third time checking, as if it appeared out of thin air. I spread it out and look at the remaining points that are circled. There are five more places to see on my own. (55.63)

Needless to say, Violet goes to these five places, where Finch has left little signs and gifts for her to see. It's sad, but it brings her some comfort.

I don't need to worry that Finch and I never filmed our wanderings. It's okay that we didn't collect souvenirs or that we never had time to pull it all together in a way that made sense to anyone else but us. The thing I realize is that it's not what you take, but it's what you leave. (58.44-58.45)

It's comforts Violet to know that, while she doesn't have a ton of photos or anything like that, she has memories of Finch. She vows to remember him even though it hurts.

I think of my own epitaph, still to be written, and all the places I'll wander. (59.6)

Instead of, say, crawling into a hole to cry, Violet has decided she still has some stuff to see. Brava.