What is the climax and resolution of Paul Fleischman's book, "Whirligig"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As the other educator has already addressed the climax of the story, I will address the resolution of the story.

The resolution occurs when Brent meets the artist in Maine. There, he finally makes peace with his past, acknowledges his humanity, and begins to look hopefully to the future. In the last chapter of the book, Brent stops at Weeksboro. At the beach, he chances upon an artist who is painting a crab shell.

Brent fashions the last of his four whirligigs and mounts it at the top of a hill where the artist lives. The two then begin a conversation about Brent's past. During the conversation, the artist tells Brent not to give up on life, and she reassures him of his worth. Upon hearing her words, Brent has an epiphany. It suddenly dawns on him that his past actions do not define him eternally and that he has many opportunities to do good with the life that he has. This moment of realization is a powerful one, resolving the story on a hopeful note.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The construction of this novel is especially interesting because the climax, which usually comes closer to the end of the book, actually occurs about a third of the way through, in Chapter 3, when Brent meets the mother of the girl he killed face-to-face. In this courtroom encounter, Mrs. Zamora gives him a bus pass and requests that he place a whirligig at each of the four corners of the country in memory of her daughter, and as a form of restitution for her death. This opens the door to the resolution of the story, which is Brent's journey of self-discovery. Through his experiences while traveling to complete his mission, Brent begins to resolve his feelings of isolation and disconnectedness with others and the world, and finds a sense of his own self-worth.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial