What transformations do the main characters in Whirligig undergo?

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The main character, Brent, changes over the course of the novel. He begins as a self-centered teenager concerned with impressing others. He makes immature choices, such as drinking underage and driving under the influence. He is not a likable character at the start of the story.

After Brent's journey to the four corners of the United States to set up whirligigs in honor of Lea, Brent develops more self-esteem. He starts to enjoy new things, such as reading and creating. He is no longer self-pitying. Brent becomes more mature and likable.

The whirligigs Brent makes have an impact on other characters featured in chapters of the book. In California, Jenny is a teenager who takes care of her elderly and sick Grandmother. Jenny is conscientious, albeit anxious, and is told by her mother that she is too serious. She sees the whirligig on a drive with her Grandmother. Jenny starts to change her perspective and gains a sense of hope and joy.

Stephanie has a similar experience with the whirligig she sees. Stephanie is sarcastic and pragmatic, but the whirligig helps her believe in love, hope, and joy.

Mrs. Zamora wanted Brent to make the whirligigs so

people all over the country receive joy from her even though she's gone. You make the smiles that she would have made.

We can see how the characters receive this joy and change over the course of the story.

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A whirligig is something that has one or more pieces which spin around in the wind.  In this story, the main character builds whirligigs to repay a mother whose child has died in a car accident.

Mostly, Brent is the character who changes.  He begins the book as a self-centered boy who is desperately trying to fit in by having the right clothes, car, music, and enough money to spend.  After the car accident in which a girl dies, everything about him changes.

Brent takes a lot of trips--bus rides, meeting strangers, camping, making whirligigs--and he learns a lot with each one.  Through his learning about himself and his life, the reader has the opportunity to re-examine his/her own life and priorities as well.  The purpose of the trips is at the request of the girl's mother.  She has asked that he travel to the four corners of the USA to put up whirligigs which display her daughter's face.  After he has complete his mission, he returns home, changed forever.

Other characters are background characters that lend support to Brent and his amazing character metamorphosis.

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