Margo and Quentin as characters

Discuss the April 2015 book of the month, "Paper Towns" by John Green.
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melbuhtoast
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Margo and Quentin as characters

Post by melbuhtoast » 02 Apr 2015, 13:02

This is a question that was in the discussion guide at the end of my copy of the book that I thought worth posting for you all:
When Margo and Quentin are nine they make a horrible discovery, and respond in very different ways. Quentin says, “As I took those two steps back, Margo took two equally small and quiet steps forward” (p.5). Do these descriptions still apply to the characters when they reach high school? When the story ends? What changes?

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Post by bluemel4 » 02 Apr 2015, 14:20

It absolutely applies to the two characters when they reach high school. Margo continues to be adventurous choosing to live in the "now" rather than worry about the consequences. While Quentin spends a good deal of his time consumed with anxiety and enjoys predictability and normality. Quentin even says on page twenty-four, "My days had a pleasant identicalness about them. I had always liked that: I liked routine. I liked being bored. I didn't want to, but I did." He says this same line of thinking but in other ways throughout the novel.

When the story ends I think Quentin and Margo learn a great deal about themselves and how in different situations they become different kinds of people. Quentin grows a lot through his obsessive search for Margo and finds himself to be braver and different than expected when shaken from his routine. Margo becomes more of a free spirit but can also see that she has wrongly judged people in her life. She admits that she only saw Quentin as two dimentional but that changed when she actually spent time with him.

Margo and Quentin have a clear the air discussion at the end of the novel where they realize they had feelings for each other all along but their preconceived notions of who the other was got in the way of them being together. Once all that is cleared away and the symbolic burial of the paper Margo and Quentin is accomplished they realize they care a great deal for each other but were heading in different directions.
"Life is a journey, not a destination" --Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Post by Cee-Jay Aurinko » 03 Apr 2015, 09:17

I think Margo pretty much stays the same. She keeps on moving forward without ever looking back. This is clear when Quentin finally discovers Margo in Algoe. Margo has already moved on; she's not entirely pleased with the idea that she has been found. And to clarify this even further, she plans to move to New York.

As for Quentin, Margo's disappearance and his obsession with finding her is proof that he is still the kid who "takes two steps back." And his lack of interest for prom and his reluctance to see his graduation ceremony to the end? Yeah, Quentin doesn't change at all.
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Post by bluemel4 » 03 Apr 2015, 09:31

@Leon Durham I can see how Margo only changes a little. When she is found by Quentin and Co. She realizes she could have said goodbye better and calls her family to let them know she is ok. Something she normally did not do.

But I have to disagree about Quentin. He does change through the story. He goes from being this self-centered guy who thinks everyone should live up to his expectations. He realizes that people are who they are and he needs to accept that. He sees that Margo the person and Margo the idealized version are two different people and that there is danger in pretending you know someone when you do not. He even has a break through about the way you see the world is important. It's either all strings and fatal wounds or everything is connected and eternal.
"Life is a journey, not a destination" --Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Post by Ashley3255 » 09 Apr 2015, 21:32

Leon Durham wrote:I think Margo pretty much stays the same. She keeps on moving forward without ever looking back. This is clear when Quentin finally discovers Margo in Algoe. Margo has already moved on; she's not entirely pleased with the idea that she has been found. And to clarify this even further, she plans to move to New York.

As for Quentin, Margo's disappearance and his obsession with finding her is proof that he is still the kid who "takes two steps back." And his lack of interest for prom and his reluctance to see his graduation ceremony to the end? Yeah, Quentin doesn't change at all.
I agree with this. Both do not change to me, they just grow older.

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Post by trabernathy29 » 14 Apr 2015, 12:54

Yes, I think Margo stays the same in that she was constantly moving forward. She was always doing things the always conforming Q would not think to do...i.e. run away. It wasn't until the end of the book where Q found his bravery and actually decided he was going to find Margo no matter what. He stopped being afraid and let his imagination and curiosity take over, which ultimately lead him to find Margo.

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Post by teacher_jane1 » 14 Apr 2015, 20:34

Wow I love that question! It seems like Margo is drawn to the darkness in the world, and has a desire to understand and a hope that she can conquer it, while Quentin is repulsed by darkness and evil. He doesn't really want to understand it, and he's not really optimistic that it can be overcome; he'd rather just leave it alone. Both of these reactions have merits, which is why the dynamic between these two characters is so compelling. Margo's reaction is based in courage--she's not afraid of evil. But that means that she more easily gets sucked into horrifying situations that she actually isn't able to deal with. Quentin understands that evil and darkness are repulsive and wrong, but he pulls back and avoids confronting them (until the end of the book, go Quentin!).

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Post by deah319 » 16 Apr 2015, 04:17

Absolutely! I think that the scene at the park was an effective method used by the author to introduce who the characters truly are. It gives us a glimpse of what their tendencies are and how they carry that to their teenage years. Quentin seems to have a more stable upbringing, his parents being therapists provided him enough guidance to know what's right from wrong. Margo was more of a free spirit, acting on impulses and gives little regard to consequences.
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Post by Christinar81 » 18 Apr 2015, 08:14

Good question! I feel like Margo stayed the same throughout the story. She's adventurous from the start when they find the body and she takes it on herself to investigate the man and find out what happened. All the times she ran away or broke into different places and then to leave in the very end to go to New York, she stayed adventurous and headstrong. She didn't care how others felt or were affect by her actions.

However I feel Quentin changed quite a bit. When he saw the body and backed away, he went home and was sheltered by his parents. As a teen he was still as sheltered. He always followed the rules and did what was expected of him. It was after the night of revenge with Margo that Q started to change. He started breaking the rules, skipping school, lying to his parents and going places by himself. I think his experiences while trying to find Margo brought him out of his shell, his safe sheltered place, and made him must more adventurous. I think by the end of the book Q was in a must better place moving forward in life and Margo hadn't changed at all.
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Post by aclark02 » 22 Apr 2015, 22:04

I think that in a way it does still apply to them in high school, but another part of me wants to say that Quentin begins to take several steps forward at a time.

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Post by tiffanynettles » 25 Apr 2015, 02:00

I think that whether or not the description still applies to them in high school depends on what you are comparing it to. I think that as far as taking chances and living life then it definitely applies. Margo is always jumping into some sort of adventure, while Quentin shies away from it. However, if you compare it to how they react towards being sociable and happy in school and at home I believe that the roles are reversed. Quentin would love to be more socially accepted, thus would gladly take two steps forward. While Margo would rather just leave everybody behind and escape, thus taking two steps back.

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Post by I love books » 31 May 2015, 12:00

I think that the descriptions definitely applies to them in high school because as seen in the book, Margo seems to always be finding a new adventure while Quentin is just trying to stay in the background and be invisible. Although towards the end of the book Quentin seems to become little by little just like Margo, he starts to take small baby steps to becoming a more adventures and social person.

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Post by csimmons032 » 24 Jun 2015, 12:24

I think it definitely applies as they continue into high school. Margo continues to take steps forward. She's always looking towards the future, whereas Quentin is always trying to stay in the past.

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Post by hannahbm13 » 20 Jul 2015, 14:12

I think that completely defined them as characters. Margo is adventurous and daring. She sees something new and wants to know all about it; wants to investigate it. Quentin, on the other hand, sees something unfamiliar and wants to run away to something safe and comfortable.

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Post by The Book Reviewer » 07 Aug 2015, 11:00

Well picked up on, that definitely describes the characters perfectly. But what's also interesting is that as Q becomes more desperate to find Margo, he is the one taking two steps forward and so they catch up with each other. Q and Margo find one another because, for a time, they were both as bold and adventurous as the other. But then Margo leaves because, inevitably, Margo will always be the one going forward, never leaving enough time to look back.

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