Study Guide

All the Bright Places Mortality

By Jennifer Niven

Mortality

Is today a good day to die? This is something I ask myself in the morning when I wake up. In third period when I'm trying to keep my eyes open while Mr. Schroeder drones on and on. At the supper table as I'm passing the green beans. At night when I'm lying awake…. (1.1-1.2)

Finch thinks about killing himself most, if not all, of the time. He doesn't talk about it, though. We just know because we can read his thoughts.

I delete her notes and mine. I delete the hosting company email. And then I empty my trash so that the email is as dead and gone as Eleanor. (7.5)

Violet feels like her words died with her sister. Eventually, we see them come back to life. Hmm, does that mean they're technically zombies?

"I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. Especially when there is so much else to do." The quote is from Virginia Woolf's suicide note to her husband, but I think it fits the occasion. (8.47)

Finch quotes not just Virginia Woolf, but Virginia Woolf's suicide letter in one of his first messages to Violet. This dude is intense.

"There's a built-in ending to everything in the world, right? I mean, a hundred-watt lightbulb is designed to last seven hundred and fifty hours. The sun will die in about five billion years. We all have a shelf life." (20.45)

Finch talks about death as a natural phenomenon. And it's true: All things come to an end.

It takes strength to push myself up, because I need air by now, badly. The panic comes back, stronger this time, and then I aim myself for the surface. …I'm sorry, Violet. I won't leave you again. (32.37)

Finch makes at least two suicide attempts that we see before the final one, which we don't see. We know he fought to stay alive.

Note to self: Suicide is not a laughing matter, particularly for authority figures who are in any way responsible for you. (41.33)

Finch has a real sense of humor about his problems. It's partly a defense mechanism, but it's partly just his personality.

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. (43.2)

One time, in Finch's childhood, a bird died. He has a real hangup about this event. We probably hear this story half a dozen times.

I push my limbs through the doors of the emergency room and say to the first person I see, "I swallowed pills and can't get them out of me. Get them out of me." (43.18)

This is Finch's second suicide attempt. Why does he change his mind at the last minute?

This isn't a nature class, but a support group for teens who are thinking about, or have attempted, or have survived, suicide. I found it on the internet. (44.1)

Finch goes to a suicide support group that's supposed to be uplifting, but it leaves him feeling more depressed than ever. He didn't like the cookies, for one thing.

At school the entire student body seems to be in mourning. There is a lot of black being worn, and you can hear sniffling in every classroom. Someone has built a shrine to Finch…. (55.1)

Violet is mad by how her classmates react to Finch's death. She thinks they're hypocrites.