What are three instances when music influenced or affected Brent in Whirligig by Paul Fleischman?  

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At the beginning of the book, Brent listens to music to get himself in the right mood to deal with going to the party. Fleischman writes of Brent, "And keeping the right music flowing, using headphones between house and car, was as vital as maintaining a sacred flame" (page 6)....

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At the beginning of the book, Brent listens to music to get himself in the right mood to deal with going to the party. Fleischman writes of Brent, "And keeping the right music flowing, using headphones between house and car, was as vital as maintaining a sacred flame" (page 6). Brent needs music to block out reality, and he even wears headphones when he attends the party where he sees Brianna. At this point in the book, music is Brent's way of coping with his unhappiness.

After he is in the car accident, it is the absence of music that affects Brent. As Fleischman writes of Brent, "he ate little, spoke little, and no longer listened to music" (page 35). Music is as essential to Brent's life as eating and speaking, so the fact that he no longer listens to music shows that he is depressed and does not feel alive after the car crash.

Later, he honors Lea Zamora, the girl he killed in the car crash he caused, by building a whirligig in the shape of a harp. He knows that Lea played in an orchestra, and he constructs a whirligig in the shape of a full-size harp, the kind that could be in an orchestra. Constructing this harp whirligig reminds him that Lea's life was full of music. 

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Two appear in the fifth chapter, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Here Brent is staying at the hostel in San Diego, when he hears and sees a man playing a concertina. (A concertina is an accordion, also called a squeezebox, which is often depicted as an instrument of Italians and a sound of Italy.) It makes a “cheery, reedy sound.” Brent envies “the man his power to entertain himself and others.” By the end of the chapter, Brent has bought himself a harmonica. He teaches himself some basic songs. Then he uses the harmonica to christen the new whirligig with music. From this point on, he plays the harmonica at various parts of his journey. He had not been particularly musical beforehand.

In the final chapter, “Everybody Swing!” Brent is in Weeksboro, Maine. He comes upon a place where people are square dancing. The music is “brisk, bouncy, and infectious.” He sees that the dancers form in essence “a human whirligig, set in motion by music instead of wind.” Someone grabs his hand and invites him to join along, and amazingly enough, he does. The Brent we met at the beginning of the book would never have done this, let alone with a bunch of strangers. But he quite enjoys himself here, in the final pages. This is one example of his transformation during this challenging time.

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