What do the characters in Whirligig have in common with Brent?

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Throughout his journey, Brent meets a variety of people who he connects with. When Brent meets Emil, Brent imagines him as some sort of smarter, better version of himself, since they look similar to each other. Brent is in awe of him and admires him, and wants to better himself and gain more knowledge. Emil is an impetus for Brent to better himself. 

Another character that Brent strongly connects with is the painter he meets in Maine. She connects with him as an artist, and he feels comfortable and inspired in her...

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