Whirligig Questions and Answers
by Paul Fleischman

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How does Brent change from beginning to end of Whirligig by Paul Fleischman?

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Madeleine Wells eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the beginning of the book, Brent is just like any normal teenager who struggles to find his place among his high school peers. He is perhaps a little self-conscious, but he knows that he has to appear confident and sophisticated if he wants to impress. At a party, he desperately tries to talk to a girl he's had his eye on for a while. However, his efforts fall flat when the girl, Brianna, rebuffs him in front of everyone, and he becomes the laughing stock of the party.

Greatly humiliated, Brent, with alcohol coursing through his blood, takes to the wheel and decides to put an end to his miserable life. However, he doesn't die; instead, he ends up killing Lea Zamora, an eighteen-year-old high school student. When Brent discovers who he has just killed, he is overwhelmed with guilt and grief. Lea was, by all indications, a model student. She was a member of the orchestra, a member of the student council, and an athlete on the track team at Niles North High School. Lea was also an honor...

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mkcapen1 | Student

In the beginning of the book, Brent is a very happy and lonely young man.  He gets humiliated by a girl that he likes who slaps him in front of others.  He decides to commit suicide and in the process he lives and an 18 year old girl dies. 

Brett goes on a joureny as recommended to help him by the girl's mother to recover and get past the guilt that he feels.  She wants him to make four whirligigs and place her daughter's face upon them and place them at four corners in America. 

Brent makes the journey and along the way makes discoveries about himself and other people.  He becomes more mature and self-satisfied.  He is also able to obtain healing.