This photo relates a lot to Paper Towns. The main character Quentin has a very small personality. He's on the nerdy side of the spectrum and he doesn't leave his comfort zone very often. He follows the rules and has never been a rebel in his life and can basically be described as a "drizzle". This is the complete opposite of Margo, however. Margo has one of the biggest personalities Quentin has ever seen. She's been rebellious her whole life and is not a big fan of obeying her parents, or any authoritative figure for that matter. She's loud and boisterous and her personality just doesn't fit in her petite body. If Quentin is a drizzle, then Margo is a hurricane. Another reason she's just like a hurricane is that hurricanes cause people to worry. They worry about when it's coming, or the destruction it will cause, or where the effected people will relocate if need be. Margo causes a lot of worry as well. While hurricanes cause nationwide worry, Margo running away causes school and town wide worry. Hurricanes are also very forceful storms. Margo has a forceful side to her, thus adding to the comparison. She's able to force Quentin to come with her the night she was going on a revenge spree. This spree was also destructive to the people effected, just like a hurricane it. Ultimately, this picture is an extremely accurate portrayal of Quentin and Margo's personality.
Well, first off, what exactly is a paper town? The term can literally refer to a subdivision that was started but then abandoned, because it was only built on paper with the designs of the subdivision. However, the predominant reference of the term is used in the beginning of the novel when Margo says that Orlando, where they live, is a paper town. This usage of the term describes it as something flimsy and planned. From above, the town seems like it could be made out of paper, with no real depth to it, just a lot of surface that could collapse with one gust of wind. She describes the town as something "not even hard enough to be made of plastic." This demonstrates the superficial type of city Orlando is, especially since she describes it as paper, which literally has absolutely no depth to it. Everything in the town seems to be at a surface level, only concerned with what's on the surface, only focusing on what the eye can see. This concept is crucial to the plot due to the fact that it's because of this superficiality that Margo decides to run away. She's tired of the surface, she's tired of people just assuming that what they see of her is all there is to her, when really there's so much more. She craves that depth and she craves a fresh start in a stronger town, one that's not made of paper.
Below are buttons you can click on that lead to a website with tips on dealing with a child running away, and a list of missing children. The signs a child may run away include:
“When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”
In this quote, Quentin is talking to Margo and the motif of cracks becomes present once more in the novel. Cracks are a crucial element to the novel, because they help illustrate the difference between what's inside of someone versus what's outside. As mentioned in the quote, many times what is seen of a person is often just what's on the outside, or what idea we create of that person. Without truly seeing what's inside, our opinions of people are based on just that: our ideas. Maybe this is why an individual can have people who love and hate them at the same time, because that love and hate is simply based on an idea and nothing more. Most people tend to have some sort of shell guarding them from their surroundings, like an egg. On the outside and egg is smooth and flawless and perfect. But once those cracks appear, once people get to see what's inside, that's when the ideas of the egg completely change. Before the egg was flawless and whole, but now people can see the ooey-gooey mess of what's on the inside and can truly make an accurate idea of the egg. These cracks are crucial in creating proper judgements of someone. This is very cliché to say, but you never know what's going on inside of someone, and any sort of idea made about them will probably be false. It's not until you see that mess of what's inside that an idea can be made. This quote is extremely relatable to most people, including myself. Nearly everyone put's on a protective facade and shell in hopes of appearing flawless and whole. Here's the thing though, no one is flawless and whole. Everyone has things they struggle with, and the only way we can see that is through their cracks. I speak from my own personal experience. I'm a mess. The amount of mess I have inside of me is insane actually, and I have an extremely tough shell in place so no one can see that ickyness. It's only the few people I'm closest to that see those cracks. I love this quote because of how relatable it is to my life and many others. It's important to remind ourselves that often times, our ideas about someone are false. And we can't judge until we know the full story.
In many novels throughout literature, the concept of The Quest from Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor is extremely prevalent. John Green's Paper Towns is no exception. Essentially, the basis of the plot can be seen as a quest, because the vast majority of the book is Quentin and his friends searching for their lost friend named Margo Roth Spiegelman. A literary quest contains five essential elements: a quester, a place to go, a stated reason to go to said place, trials and tribulations along the way, and the true reason for the journey which is always self knowledge. In Paper Towns, all of these elements are present:
The quester: In this case, the questers are Quentin and his friends
The stated reason to go: To locate Margo since she ran away
The desired location: The desired location is to be wherever Margo is. Because they don't know where she is, this element is a little ambiguous
Trials and tribulations: Well the trials and tribulations are just their attempts at gathering the clues Margo left behind in hopes of finding her. There are also challenges in hoping to retrieve her before a specific time they believe she will commit suicide, which includes driving nearly 24 hours up to New York. During this drive they encounter struggles with staying awake, finding time to use the restroom, etc. etc.
Self knowledge gained: Ultimately, the self knowledge that Quentin gains is the fact that some people don't necessarily want to be found and leave for a reason. Once they find Margo in New York, she explains to him that living there is what's best for her, and that she wanted to leave so she could start fresh. This concept never occurred to Quentin, so he gains knowledge in that aspect. He also learns about what he is capable of figuring out and doing for the people he cares about. Because the task of finding Margo was so challenging and taxing, Quentin is able to grow and realize the things he can do.