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Paper Towns

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❶Till dawn do us part.

by John Green

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I liked that they liked each other. We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals. And I had never quite thought of her that way, not really; it was a failure of all my previous imaginings.

All along—not only since she left, but for a decade before—I had been imagining her without listening, without knowing that she made as poor a window as I did.

Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl. Radar rolled his eyes. The human tongue is like wasabi: For the longest time, it felt kind of like my chest was cracking open, but not precisely in an unpleasant way. I had engineered a most unlikely prom coupling. I had quieted the hounds of caste warfare. I had come to feel comfortable inside the rat-infested haunted house where she did her best thinking.

But I could not yet become the wounded person. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world. Do I just keep leaving places, and leaving them, and leaving them, tramping a perpetual journey? Pulling life out by the roots. And so when she left, she left for good. But I could not believe she had left for a perpetual journey. She had, I felt sure, left for a place—a place where she could stay long enough for it to matter, long enough for the next leaving to feel as good as the last one had.

I hand him his shirt and he wiggles into it while driving with his knees. I feel like this is an important idea, one of those ideas that your brain must wrap itself around slowly, the way pythons eat. We can hear others, and we can travel to them without moving, and we can imagine them, and we are all connected one to the other by a crazy root system like so many leaves of grass—but the game makes me wonder whether we can really ever fully become another.

Two cows stand oblivious in the highway. They come into view all at once, a spotted cow in the left lane, and in our lane an immense creature, the entire width of our car, standing stock-still, her head turned back as she appraises us with blank eyes.

The cow is flawlessly white, a great white wall of cow that cannot be climbed or ducked or dodged. It can only be hit. He pats my uninjured cheek with a greasy hand. Maybe the sure knowledge that she is alive makes all of that possible again—even if I never see proof of it. I can almost imagine a happiness without her, the ability to let her go, to feel our roots are connected even if I never see that leaf of grass again. The harder you spin it, the better it performs.

No one says anything for a while. But there is still too much to be ruined. But that night you turned out to be real. And it ends up being so odd and fun and magical that I go back to my room in the morning and I just miss you.

I looked down and thought about how I was made of paper. I was the flimsy-foldable person, not everyone else. People love the idea of a paper girl. The something deeper and more secret. But as for me: I must ask the wounded man where he is hurt, because I cannot become the wounded man. The only wounded man I can be is me. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us.

I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: My head was level with hers as we stared at each other from opposite sides of the glass.

We just stay there, looking at each other, forever. High school is neither a democracy nor a dictatorship - nor, contrary to popular belief, an anarchic state.

High school is a divine-right monarchy. And when the queen goes on vacation, things change. It was nice—in the dark and the quiet, with no possibility of me saying anything to screw it up, and her eyes looking back, like there was something in me worth seeing. And we are going to wrong some rights. The first shall be last; the last shall be first; the meek shall do some earth-inheriting.

But before we can radically reshape the world, we need to shop. We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.

It's a paper town. I mean, look at it, Q: All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I've lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.

Like each of us starts out as a watertight vessel. And the vessel starts to crack in places. And I mean, yeah once the vessel cracks open, the end becomes inevitable. Once it starts to rain inside the Osprey, it will never be remodeled.

But there is all this time between when the cracks start to open up and when we finally fall apart. And its only that time that we see one another, because we see out of ourselves through our cracks and into others through theirs. When did we see each other face to face? Before that we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade, but never seeing inside.

You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpunctual and for never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking me about how it's going with my girlfriend - but I don't give a shit, man, because you're you. My parents have a shit ton of black Santas, but that's okay. I'm too obsessed with a reference website to answer my phone sometimes when my friends call, or my girlfriend. You like me anyway.

And I like you.


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quotes from Paper Towns: ‘What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.’.

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Check out our list of wonderful quotes from John Green’s book, Paper Towns, which is adapted into a movie showing on July 24, Enjoy! Enjoy! The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle.

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"Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl.” Quentin (p) Paper Towns is a novel about imagining people complexly. For much of Quentin's childhood and adolescence, he . Identity quotes from Paper Towns book; quotes about Identity.

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It’s a paper town. I mean look at it, Q: look at all those cul-de-sacs, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm.” (p. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too.