Margo's Hideaways

Discuss the April 2015 book of the month, "Paper Towns" by John Green.
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Margo's Hideaways

Post by bluemel4 » 02 Apr 2015, 13:59

While reading Paper Town's I noticed a correlation between the state of the building Margo inhabited and where Margo's state of mind was while she stayed in them. The buildings were also an interesting way for Quentin to go inside of Margo's brain and try to understand her.

For example, Margo complares her house to a prision. This is where she is the most paper version of Margo. She has very little of herself there except the surprising record collection and is the place she is most eager to leave behind. The next Margo building, the Osprey, was a condemed mini mall in a pseudovision. No one can enter through the front but the back has an access point that looks locked. Once inside there is barely anything left behind but the things no one wants. There are holes in the roof where you can see the stars. This is the place Margo spends most of her time. She considers herself in this building as the part time Paper Margo and makes most of her intricate plans there. The building is still prision like but is showing signs of breaking down. It is also where Quentin gets his first view of Margo as someone other than his idealized version of her. The last building, a barn, in Agloe is the most open and easy to get into. She even has a plexiglass office she created on one side of the Barn. This is the place Margo can be closest to her true self and even is extremely honest while there.

Do you agree that the buildings and their conditions are a statement of where Margo is in her personal journey of self discovery? Did you see the buildings symbolizing something else?
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Post by Cee-Jay Aurinko » 03 Apr 2015, 04:26

I can't believe I haven't noticed this before. If this was the author's initial intention, then wow, he did a brilliant job! Thanks for mentioning this. I'm dumbfounded. Margo's choice of buildings is actually just like her state of being at the time. Her last choice, Algoe's General Store, is all alone and forgotten in the paper town Algoe, just like Margo. It is on a wide piece of open land. And it is here where Margo finally opens up and reveals her true self to Q. Thanks again for bringing this up!
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Post by melbuhtoast » 03 Apr 2015, 07:38

bluemel4 wrote:While reading Paper Town's I noticed a correlation between the state of the building Margo inhabited and where Margo's state of mind was while she stayed in them. The buildings were also an interesting way for Quentin to go inside of Margo's brain and try to understand her.

For example, Margo complares her house to a prision. This is where she is the most paper version of Margo. She has very little of herself there except the surprising record collection and is the place she is most eager to leave behind. The next Margo building, the Osprey, was a condemed mini mall in a pseudovision. No one can enter through the front but the back has an access point that looks locked. Once inside there is barely anything left behind but the things no one wants. There are holes in the roof where you can see the stars. This is the place Margo spends most of her time. She considers herself in this building as the part time Paper Margo and makes most of her intricate plans there. The building is still prision like but is showing signs of breaking down. It is also where Quentin gets his first view of Margo as someone other than his idealized version of her. The last building, a barn, in Agloe is the most open and easy to get into. She even has a plexiglass office she created on one side of the Barn. This is the place Margo can be closest to her true self and even is extremely honest while there.

Do you agree that the buildings and their conditions are a statement of where Margo is in her personal journey of self discovery? Did you see the buildings symbolizing something else?
This is SUCH a great connection. I didn't make the connection until you mentioned it, but I do think this was the author's intention.

I can definitely see her parents house as a prison, a place she wants to flee, escape from, and be free.
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Post by bluemel4 » 03 Apr 2015, 11:03

Thanks guys. I think I only realized it because I was taking such careful notes. I kept noticing cracks in the buildings and cracks in people's surfaces or facades.
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Post by amybo82 » 03 Apr 2015, 14:01

I like this connection! It gives another layer to the book.
A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. –Neil Gaiman

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Post by Christinar81 » 12 Apr 2015, 14:35

Wow that's a great connection. I never picked up on that while I was reading. Now that you pointed it out, it makes a lot of sense to me. Maybe I need to start taking notes as I read. You made me realize I could be missing things. Thank you.
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Post by bluemel4 » 12 Apr 2015, 14:41

@Christinar81 :D
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Post by trabernathy29 » 14 Apr 2015, 12:39

I thought the buildings did represent Margo but in a sense that she felt no one really knew her. It seems that everyone had an idea of who they thought Margo was from her outer appearance, the same thing happened upon arriving at the pseudovisions. It's like judging a book by its cover. It wasn't until Q went inside those places and actually explored and saw things through Margo's eyes that he began to understand that the really didn't know Margo either. I believe Q having access to Margo's room, her records, and the Whitman book gave him the chance to stop and really understand how Margo's thought process worked. She was not just any girl, she was very thought-provoking. Nothing was as it seemed. You may have thought of things in one way, but there was always a totally different meaning to things in Margo's brain. For example, her use of random capitalization of words. She thought that the traditional way was rather boring and and too conformed. Margo herself was sort of a free spirit in the sense that she made a plan and went with it, going anywhere of her choosing (Mississippi and New York). Margo didn't conform to anyone's rules...just marched to her own drum.
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Post by deah319 » 16 Apr 2015, 21:03

I agree, the hideaways represent Margo's state of mind during her stay there. I would love to know if that was the author's intention while he was writing it. I've read an interview with him where he mentioned that he likes to let his readers take what they can from his stories.

I think that her school is another hideaway since nobody pays much attention to her at home. She managed to create this persona that other people can idolize. The only problem is that image isn't really her thus finding the need to breakaway and start anew.
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Post by tiffanynettles » 25 Apr 2015, 02:10

I did not notice this correlation at all, but now that you have brought it up it makes perfect sense. If the author actually did that on purpose then he deserves more credit then I have been giving him. I had just assumed that the building were just where she happened to end up on her journey to finding out where she truly belong.
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Post by Lovely_Loreley » 31 May 2015, 14:17

Wow! I think this is a brilliant connection. When I was reading the book I felt like the buildings were symbolic, but in a slightly different way. Margo's home was a place where people expected things of her, and where she had to be what they wanted to be. So I treated the school as a place where she could be anything else, where she could control what people thought of her. And when that wasn't enough, she found the abandoned mini mall and used it as a sort of haven where she could just be herself. It was her sanctuary, in the sense that she didn't have to pretend to be something she wasn't.

I always thought the barn in Agloe was the most significant, because at some point, being alone and being herself weren't enough for Margo. Maybe she didn't like who she was or regretted things she did, but she felt the need to get away. To Margo, Agloe was the place where she could grow into whoever she wanted to be. People didn't know her or have expectations, so she could control her image like at school. But she could also be herself, in this place where people hadn't yet passed judgment on who she was or what she had done. Agloe kind of took the best aspects of other places she had been.

I like this connection that settings correlated to Margo's state of mind. When I think about the mini mall, I think of how broken Margo must have felt...but then, Agloe for her would have been more than just a place of openness and honesty; it was a place of healing and new beginnings!
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Post by chumki_pattanayak » 22 Jun 2015, 08:09

I saw the connections. the more Q read and reread the poem the more he understands Margo. the way she thinks. why she is the way she is. The places Margo stayed in are symbolic of her state of mind. When she was at home she was a different Margo, the way her parents would like her. But once outside she is a different person altogether. while exploring abandoned places, whether alone or with people like Gus... she was exploring her true spirit.
I love the part about strings. . we all feel a responsibility a guilt feeling or a burden until we have the strings attached to a place or person. once all strings severed you feel lighter, liberated.

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Post by csimmons032 » 23 Jun 2015, 18:47

I never would have guessed that. I suppose I can see your point though. Margo seemed to be a very interesting person who seems to feel many different emotions. So I guess I can understand why she want want to choose places that would express her emotions.
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Post by hannahbm13 » 20 Jul 2015, 14:23

Wow, I really never noticed any of that. What brilliant symbolism! John Green sure is a master of storytelling.
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Post by The Book Reviewer » 07 Aug 2015, 10:44

That's a great conclusion and one I hadn't thought of before! I agree that the buildings could be symbols for Margo's state of mind, but maybe this is over-analysing? Perhaps the buildings were purely atmospheric.

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