Throughout the novel, Violet and Finch each search for a sense of identity. Violet lost hers in the car accident that killed her sister. For her, Eleanor was a point of comparison—someone to define herself against. Now that Eleanor's gone, Violet feels as though she's disappeared, too; she no longer enjoys cheering, or writing, or anything, for that matter.
Finch struggles with finding himself, too. Maybe he's too sick to have a fully formed identity, or maybe he's trying to outrun labels like "mentally ill." Maybe, to some extent, it's regular teenager stuff. In any case, he wasn't himself—or at least the best version of himself—when he died. We know the "real" Finch wanted to live.
Questions About Identity
Why does Amanda Monk keep her problems from her friends? Why does she use a fake name at the suicide support group?
Which of Finch's personas feels most like the "real" Finch? Slacker Finch? '80s Finch? All-American Finch? Or some other version?
In what ways does Violet change over the course of the novel?
Chew on This
Violet feels like a changed person by the end of the novel, but she's regained her sense of self.
The reason Finch changes his appearance so frequently comes down to his fear of labels.