Symbolism In Paper Towns

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Throughout the novel Paper Towns by John Green, one dominant theme is the image one sets for oneself, or sees in another. As one forges a semblance based on their own thoughts, one is seeing someone as a mirror. Alternatively, to perceive one as a window symbolizes being able to see one’s true self – not a reflection. It is better to be a window rather than a mirror, because it fosters strong relationships as shown through the experiences of Lacey, Ben and Quentin ( Q ) throughout the paperback. Beginning to end, Lacey Pemberton’s transition from mirror to window forges authentic relationships with many, specifically, Ben and Q. At the start of the novel, Ben views Lacey as a mirror. He fantasizes her as a goddess, admiring her from afar.…show more content…
When Quentin stops mirroring Margo as a miracle, Q has a better understanding of her. Being viewed as a window helps one understand another, helping formulate a stronger link. When Q claims, “When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours,” he points out that instead of imaging shiny, perfect vessels, they see the cracks in one another – a metaphorical way of noting that the two understood each other clearly when looked at each other through windows. Alternatively, after Margo’s disappearance, Q comments, “Margo Roth Spiegelman was a person, too. And I had never quite thought of her that way, not really; it was a failure of all my previous imaginings (Page 304),” admitting that Margo could never live up to the idea he forged of her. Later, when he ponders, “I had been imagining her without listening, without knowing that she made as poor a window as I did (Page 310),” it emphasizes his realization that Margo is not a fine, precious thing. He realizes that she is just a girl – an equal to himself, that she is not well put together, but instead, she has a life just as broken as his. These scenarios substantiate that false impressions of another can pile pressure on one, disappoint another and even break ties when being viewed as a mirror, differing from being viewed as a window, which strengthens
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