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Paper Towns

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Juliana Quay

on 23 May 2013

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Transcript of Paper Towns

Paper Towns is a novel told in first-person point of view by Quentin Jacobsen (or "Q," as his friends call him)- a high school senior who is always either thinking too much or too little. Quentin's best friends include Ben, who is utterly obsessed with prom, and Radar, a really smart guy whose parents are in the running for a Guinness World Record for the largest collection of black Santas Paper Towns is set Orlando, Florida. Quentin lives there in a subdivision where all the houses are identical. Since the beautiful and ever-adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman lives right beside him, Q is constantly reminded of their past friendship and how Margo now has nothing to do with him. Margo dropped Q when they were nine, after they discovered the body of Robert Joyner, a divorced lawyer that had committed suicide under a tree in Jefferson Park. Margo is standing outside Quentin's window later that night and they are trying to figure out why he killed himself. "Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one." Margo then says she has a list of eleven things that she needs to get done that night, and she needs to use Quentin and his mom's minivan to get those things done. After much hesitation, and Margo's promise that there aren't any felonies involved, Quentin reluctantly agrees to help her. They left Quentin's house around midnight, and didn't get back until five o'clock the next morning. Their escapades include breaking into SeaWorld, messing with certain people Margo had grudges against, and climbing to the top of the SunTrust building. It is when they are on the top floor of the building
looking out over the city that Margo first mentions "paper towns," a term she coined. After they are finally finished with Margo's list, she and Quentin go back home. Quentin realizes then that he doesn't want the night to end, because he had a really good time with Margo. Being her usual mysterious self, Margo hugs Quentin, and whispers in his ear that she will miss hanging out with him. Then she turns and goes back to her house. Quentin is somewhat confused, because he thought that the past few hours they had spent together might have changed his and Margo's relationship. However, he puts his feelings aside and goes inside to get some rest before school the next day. When Quentin arrives at school, he sees that Margo's car isn't in the parking lot, and assumes she is going to be late, but soon enough he realizes she's left again. Margo leaves a lot, sometimes for several days at a time. She never tells anyone she is leaving, but she always does a lot of planning for her trips and leaves little clues everywhere for her parents to follow until they figure out where she is. But this time, it is Quentin's job to find her. Setting

The first half of Paper Towns is set in Orlando, Florida. This makes it possible for Margo and Q to break into SeaWorld, and climb to the top of the SunTrust building. Also, if the novel wasn't set in such a densely populated area like Orlando, Margo's idea of paper towns wouldn't exist.

Figurative Language

John Green doesn't use a lot of figurative language in the detailed text of this novel. I think he does this to make everything more realistic, especially because the story is told in first-person (people don't usually use a lot of figurative language during casual conversations). But when you look at the novel as a whole, you see that he actually does use some. Paper Towns is divided into three parts, and each part is named for a specific metaphor in that section. John Green says that he wanted a different definition of “paper towns” for each section of the book, each representing a different way of Quentin's imagining Margo.
The Three Parts

Part One: "The Strings"

Margo and Q use the phrase “paper town” to refer to Orlando, and Margo calls it a “paper town” because it’s flimsy and planned.

Quentin views Margo very one-dimensionally. She’s paper-thin to him; she is nothing but the object of his affection. Part Two: "The Grass"

Quentin discovers a new meaning for “paper towns.” He learns that they can refer to subdivisions that were started and then abandoned—subdivisions that exist on paper but not entirely in real life. These abandoned subdivisions are pretty common in Florida.

Quentin now sees Margo as a girl who’s half there and half not (he’s thinking about her with more complexity but still not really thinking of her as a human being).
Part Three: "The Vessel"

Quentin learns that mapmakers will insert fake places onto their maps to make sure no one is copying them. These fake places are called paper towns.

Quentin's complex thinking reconnects him to Margo, but not in the way he might’ve hoped. JOHN GREEN

Grew up in Orlando
Has experience with paper towns- Holen, South Dakota
Currently lives in Indiana with his wife Sarah
Has written many books for young adults (and they are all amazing)
John Green has a really quirky writing style, and writes about present-day teens, but there is always some kind of abstract, made-up bit in his work.
The novel moved really slowly at times, but it never dragged. It's almost like John Green is giving your brain a little break before the story picks up pace again.

The mood of Paper Towns is lighthearted and adventurous. John Green's tone is serious, yet humorous. Robert Joyner's body symbolizes the end of Margo and Quentin's friendship, the end of Margo's innocence, and the beginning of her mysteriousness
Moby Dick is mentioned several times throughout the novel (Quentin is reading it in class). The book itself is a symbol for the obsessive/heroic hunt for Margo. His teacher says, “Ahab is a fool for being obsessed with the whale” and Q does seem like a fool for being so obsessed about Margo. "The part that explains the metaphors" I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, especially people that enjoy mysteries. Paper Towns wouldn't really be classified as a mystery, but it's like a mystery inside itself.
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