In Whirligig by Paul Fleischman, what does Brent learn when making the whirligig in Maine?  

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The whirligig Brent builds in Maine is the largest and most intricate of the four. He stays at a campsite which is described as peaceful and calm. By this point in the novel, Brent is ready to face what he did, the consequences of his actions, and the changes in his life. The whirligig he builds in Weeksboro has pinwheels, shells, spinning arms, and Lea's face. All the decorations and the whirligig's size symbolize all the things he's learned, and there is a culmination for him in Maine.

When Brent meets the artist, he is ready to talk about the accident. Initially, he makes the journey for Mrs. Zamora and Lea, to make up for, or atone for, what he has done. But the journey is his path to finding forgiveness, both from others and from himself.

He can face his future without the fear and insecurity he had before the accident. Lea, a stranger he never met, changes his life. The whirligigs he leaves change the lives of other people who see them.

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Maine is Brent's last stop before he heads home. After planting his last whirligig on the artist's property, he feels that he is finally ready to meet his family again and to face Lea's mother. He also looks forward to attending a new school in the fall.

Brent's time at Weeksboro has given him hope and courage to face the challenges of the future. Because of the artist's compassion and understanding, Brent learns that he can forgive himself. While he may have caused Lea's death, he need not live in the shadow of his crime. It is therefore a relief to Brent when he realizes that his past mistakes need not hamper his ability to navigate his future successfully.

Brent also learns that, when he crossed paths with Lea, it set into motion a catalyst of events that was to bring hope to strangers he later met in Washington, Florida, California, and Maine. Now, with his last whirligig project finished and his promise to Mrs. Zamora fulfilled, Brent feels that he can look forward to a brighter future.

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