All the Bright Places

by Jennifer Niven
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How does the author use imagery and dialogue in All the Bright Places to create protagonists who are appealing to the reader?

To develop the two protagonists as appealing characters, the author uses imagery, such as one character’s description of the other, and dialogue between them.Literary devices used include similes and personification. The stories of the two protagonists of All the Bright Places, Finch and Violet, alternate throughout the book.

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In All the Bright Places, author Jennifer Niven creates two appealing protagonists, Theodore Finch and Violet Markey, and alternates their stories throughout the book. The imagery that the author employs includes the descriptions that each character makes of the other one. These images are often conveyed using similes and metaphors. The dialogue between these two characters also contributes to their presentation as individuals with whom the reader is likely to empathize.

As an example, in the first chapter, which Finch narrates in first person, he is surprised to find Violet is also on their school’s bell tower. He sometimes just hangs out in this location but at other times contemplates jumping to his death. As he tries to remember the girl’s name, he silently comments on her appearance.

Using a simile, he describes her billowing skirt as looking “like a parachute.” A simile is a comparison of unlike things for effect using “like” or “as.” Other similes he uses concern her face and mouth. He finds her “pretty, almost like a china doll,” and thinks her mouth is shaped “like a heart.”

Finch also uses personification, the attribution of human qualities to inanimate objects, concepts, or animals. He attributes agency to her mouth, saying that it “wants to curve into a … smile.”

For much of the chapter, Finch speaks while Violet simply nods or stares at him. As it becomes clear that neither one of them will jump, she begins to speak as well. The author uses her silence to convey her nervousness, and then shows through their brief dialogue that she is undecided about her actions, as well as concerned about other people’s opinions about the incident.

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