All the Bright Places
Written by Jennifer Niven
Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, both teetering on the edge, it’s the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the “natural wonders” of the state of Indiana, and two teens’ desperate desire to heal and save one another.
Primary Source Pairing:
Theodore and Violet meet and bond over Virginia Woolf’s suicide note, among other things. For this primary source pairing, use Woolf’s letter for students to analyze.
To read more about author Jennifer Niven’s inspiration, click here to read her piece from The Guardian.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- How much of the text can you read?
- What does it say?
- What do you see that looks strange or unfamiliar?
- How are the words arranged?
- What do you notice about the page the writing appears on?
- What do you see on the page besides writing?
- What other details can you see?
- Why do you think this letter was written?
- Who do you think was intended to read it, if anyone?
- What do you think was happening when it was created?
Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Virginia Woolf letter: Dying Words Tumblr
Text of letter:
“Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier ’til this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.”