Violet and Finch are guilty as sin. Or at least they feel that way. In truth, they're just kids trying to cope with big, adult-sized problems.
Violet has to deal with her sister's death, for which she feels responsible…and she feels the same way after Finch dies (even though those deaths were caused by an accident and suicide, respectively). She also feels guilty for her suicidal thoughts and lying to her parents.
Finch experiences some guilt, too, mostly because his mental illness takes a toll on his loved ones. As readers, we can see that toll is real, but unlike Finch, we understand that it's not his fault.
Questions About Guilt and Blame
- Finch's sister Kate thinks that their father's responsible for his headaches. Do you agree? Why or why not?
- If you were Violet's friend or counselor, what would you say to her about her feelings of guilt?
- Is there a time in the novel when Violet's guilt seems warranted? Explain your answer.
Chew on This
When it comes to Finch's suicide, mental illness—not the people in his life—is to blame.
When it comes to Finch's suicide, his parents' behavior is at least partially responsible. They should have helped him get the treatment he needed.