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Whirligig By Paul Fleischman Essay

1288 words - 5 pages

In the novel Whirligig, by Paul Fleischman, Brent Bishop goes on the journey of his life. After becoming drunk and being humiliated at a party, Brent starts to drive home, but on the way, he decides to attempt suicide, resulting in the accidental murder of Lea Zamora, an 18 year old girl. Lea’s family is devastated, but Mrs. Zamora asks only one favor of Brent, to travel the country and build whirligigs in her daughter’s honor to spread the joy that Lea would have if she was still alive. Through Brent’s journey, the consequences that he encounters do wonders on changing his outlook on life as well as himself. Brent goes from a suicidal conformist to an artistic traveler all because of the negative consequences and the positive consequences that he experiences, and consequences that completely transform his life.

Many of Brent’s careless and violent actions have caused negative consequences. Brent starts the ball of bad consequences rolling when he goes to a party with his friend Jake. The night starts off bad and gets worse from there. Brent begins to drink, clouding his mind and affecting his judgement. He goes up to his crush Brianna while under the influence and starts to chafe her, causing her to get mad and begin yelling at him. Brent becomes severely depressed and suicidal, and he decides to try and kill himself while supposedly driving home. This is the first of many corollaries that Brent experiences. After his unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide, Brent is informed that he has killed Lea Zamora, an 18 year old girl who is a “...senior at Niles North High School, an honor student, ...volunteer at Resurrection Hospital. Why did he have to kill someone like that?”(35) When he hears this, Brent begins to feel a strong guilt, the result of murdering Lea. Brent is sent on a journey by Mrs. Zamora to build whirligigs as a memorial of Lea, causing him to begin to travel the country. During this journey, Brent periodically has to lie to strangers about his purpose of travel and his personality in general. “The lies were piling up: that he was a coffee drinker, a Canadian, and, most serious, that he was a mere tourist, not a convicted killer on a mission of repentance.” (69) All of these lies only pile up on his guilt. Guilt, lies, and murder aren’t the only negative consequences Brent faces. When Brent begins his journey, all of his friends and family bonds are severed, he is embarrassed and doesn’t want to see any of them again. “He changed buses again in Boston, where he had an aunt and uncle and cousins, none of whom he desired to see. They were his past.” (116) His once close family are now only distant memories from the past, yet another poor consequence. All of these consequences start right when he starts drinking. The consequences keep coming, every one of them severely affecting his life.

Even with all of the negative consequences, positive consequences have managed to cross Brent’s path. Before Brent kills Lea, He only puts a...

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