Suicidal Killer: Whirligig By Paul Fleischman

1510 words - 6 pages

The novel, Whirligig, by Paul Fleischman shares the story of Brent Bishop, a teen who moves around often and has a hard time doing so, leading him to become extremely insecure about himself. The reader experiences Brent going through a troubled move as he loses control of himself at a party where he was bullied and became drunk. He ended up suffering the consequences of his actions by becoming suicidal on the road and ultimately killing another teen, Lea. Brent then leaves on a journey in search for becoming a better person and in restitution for Lea’s family. Brent's actions both before and after his journey result in many different consequences,both positive and negative, and they all changed him in one way or another.

When thinking of a consequence, one usually thinks it is a punishment that will affect one’s life in a negative way. In this novel, Brent learns that that is not true since he experiences consequences which are good for him. One would think that hitting and killing another young teen could only have a negative impact on Bent's future. However, it actually results in a positive outcome for Brent in the end. The outcome of this was Lea’s mom’s wish for remembrance of Lea, “This is my only request. That you make four whirligigs, of a girl that looks like Lea. Put her name on them. Then set them up in Washington, California, Florida, and Maine--the corners of the United States… That’s what I ask.”(41) Lea’s mother wished that Brent would accept this journey across the United States to build these whirligigs, and though at first it seemed like a negative outcome, it ended up being a positive one since Brent was able to get away from his past and blossom into a better, more mature young adult. Another positive consequence came out of Brent losing the whirligig book. “Without the book he felt abandoned… But in his mind there materialized the notion of a whirligig all his own, its plan found in no book in the world, its ingredients his remaining scraps and whatever he could scavenge, as the campground owner had.”(120) This quote shows that since Brent lost the book, he was able to learn how to use his resources and manage himself without others helping him. Furthermore, a third positive result that Brent experienced was that of telling the artist the full truth about the reason for the crash. This was the first time he had told anyone that he had been trying to kill himself. He hadn’t told the police, the psychologists, or his parents. “I was actually trying to kill myself. I killed her instead, by accident” (128) said Brent. “Jesus forgave you no matter what you’d done. But that was his business, and the priests’ and ministers’. They were professional forgivers. They said ‘It’s okay’... whether they meant it or not. This, though, was different--hearing himself forgiven freely, by someone he trusted” (129). The consequence of telling the artist the full truth was that Brent started to be able to forgive himself for what he had...

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