Anl: Paper Towns and Coming of Age

Paper Towns is one of my favorite stories. Like many of John Green’s works, Paper Towns involves a lot of complicated themes. In it, there is a discussion regarding analysis, imagining people complexly, and accepting the diversity of people.
Wheels are Turning

I find the beginning of Margo and Quentin’s friendship telling regarding the theme of analysis and its importance. When facing the dead man left in the park, she openly investigates the case. Margo Roth Spiegleman is already displaying analytical skills.

Rather than dismissing the death of a man, she imagines him, his life, his struggles, and says, “All the strings inside him broke.” Not focusing on his outward appearance, she thinks of  the “strings” inside him.

She lives with this skill in mind. From not understanding the basic approaches to adulthood through Q, she diverts from traditional paths to happiness.

When Q tells her, “Duke in the fall, go to med school, and become an oncologist,” she replies, “Isn’t there something that can make you happy now?”

As Q tries to understand her better, he finds her own copy of Leaves of Grass by Whitman, a piece all about the complexity of person-hood and individuality. She circles, “I contain multitudes.” Don’t we all?

Through her adventure with Q, she is humanizing the popular kids by providing Q with background information on them. From Jase cheating on her with her friend, to Lacey confronting his perception of her and sharing the rumors people say about her, to the myth of Margo, John Green brings a sense of realism to the way people perceive as “better”

“Everything is uglier up close,” she tells him. By the end of the story, he realizes how true this statement is. Lacey doesn’t think Margo is that good of a friend. Q wonders if she ever left him any clues to find her, or if she was simply telling him she’s okay.

 

Unattainable Love

Part of the story’s charm is the focus on unattainable women. From Ben’s infatuation with Q’s mother, to his growing affection towards Lacey, and then finally to his maturity as someone fairly comfortable with being single, Paper Towns is ultimately the story of demystifying the manic pixie dream girl. This image of a girl so out of reach, so perfect, so complicated, is given a more realistic form.

The same idea applies to Angela, a girl that Radar hides a huge part of his identity from. He doesn’t talk about the black Santas in his home and doesn’t let her come over. Furthermore, he doesn’t let her talk to his friends that much.

When she does find out his secret, she talks of how Santa is a construct, much like every perception we have about others. And, constructs are meant to be challenged.

Perceptions as Constructs

It begins with Q assuming that his “miracle” was Margo Roth Spiegleman. He assumes that, “Margo always loved mysteries. Maybe she loved them so much, she became them.”

But, by the end of the movie and novel, he realizes that she is just a girl, not a mystery to be solved or a myth to be followed. In fact, he realizes that the story is hers to tell, not his. He says, “what a treacherous thing it is to believe that  a person is more than a person. Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventurer. She was not some fine, precious things. She was a girl.”

Not only this, but she also tells him that she felt just as papery as the paper town she lived in–past and present.

In addition, he realizes that his miracle is his friends and the experiences they shared.  He understands that the lesson is to notice the miracles as they come in life, “that doesn’t mean we won’t have amazing adventures, meet exceptional people, and make indelible memories. The trick is to notice before it’s too late.”

I was upset when I received my copy of this book, because I got it
1.What is a popular book or series that you didn’t like?  Maze Runner,  The Gemma
Today, a box of books appeared on our front step, which is probably the most

BR: The Difference Between You and Me

I was upset when I received my copy of this book, because I got it with no cover, but that’s superficial. So, I carried on with my excitement to read all about Jesse and her adventures. Oh, my heart is so full right now. Currently, I am feeling an overwhelming amount of love towards Esther, Wyatt, and Jesse.
Forced Stereotypes


My reaction is that they are almost too stereotypical. Wyatt likes fashion and he’s gay. He has a fling with the school bully. My word for it was “forced.” But, I have accepted the characters as they are, after much consideration, because stereotypes are also fine. It’s okay to fit into the stereotype. This is the case, but, we shouldn’t assume that this is what everyone needs to adhere to. Jesse cuts her hair short, wears weird boots, and has no fashion sense. Raised by two left wingers, she’s a lesbian who doesn’t have qualms with her sexuality. It is so lovely to read such a character. I adore her so much because she’s a breath of fresh air. She’s passionate, interesting, smart, but is also understandably in love with a girl who will never love her back.

Real Connections

I’ve met someone like Emily. Despite it being difficult, I understand where Emily is coming from, I suppose. However, I just relate to Jesse too much; I am invested because I have felt the same way. So far, I haven’t found a narrative to connect with over the gross feeling of being used. I don’t know if Emily’s homophobic. It doesn’t seem like it. It’s more like she doesn’t want to admit that she’s passive about her life. She goes down the road she’s told to go on and she doesn’t question it much. She’s unsure of where she stands in terms of sexuality, and I think it’s somewhat of a commentary on how popular culture and common societal rules dictate and limit girls’ sexualities. It’s clipped and tamed, subdued and unexpressed.

Real Talk About Relationships

 

Ultimately, this is what the novel says about relationships. They can be physical and woefully unsatisfying because there is no emotional connection. What Jesse shares with Esther is a series of moments where they bond as people, in platonic way first. I personally think it was somewhat overkill to have Esther’s mom have cancer, too. Still, I adore Esther. She’s a good fit for Jesse in the way she pushes her to be a better person, to think critically and go against the grain like she is inclined to, anyway. I think this is the novel’s essential argument: relationships have less to do with how you idolize someone, and more with how someone actually presents themselves.

Critique of a Generation


The whole Wal-Mart thinly veiled critique was interesting for the novel. It reminded me of slacktivism and how this is a generation unable to make change happen because we’re too self-aware and self-conscious, too afraid to actually take a stand on things. Or, we take it too far and alienate everyone in the process. It is a fascinating dynamic between Emily and Esther in the student counsel because they represent two completely different ways of living. While I strongly lean towards the way Jesse and Esther live, I feel like it’s not fair to vilify Emily and what she represents, either.

Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares
Today, a box of books appeared on our front step, which is probably the most
A Birder's Guide to Everything is a small movie with many credits to its accomplishments