Paper Towns

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Paper Towns Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As they drive home in the early morning, Quentin wonders what will change now that he and Margo have shared this experience: whether they will eat lunch together and be friends in a public way. They rid the minivan of garbage and other muck, and fill up the gas tank to exactly where it was at the start of the night. Standing in Quentin’s driveway as their adventure comes to a close, Margo gives Quentin the camera with the picture of Jase, and tells him to use the picture’s powers wisely. She avoids answering when Quentin tells her he will return the camera at school.
Quentin keeps no tokens from his night with Margo except for the embarrassing picture; their last task together is to erase all the evidence of what they have done by cleaning the minivan thoroughly. Though Quentin wants to believe this shared experience will change his relationship with Margo, this is a period of erasure, in which Margo prepares him to go back to ordinary life.
Themes
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Human Connection Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
When Margo and Quentin return home, Margo gives Quentin a hug and tells him she will miss hanging out with him. Quentin insists they can hang out together, but Margo answers that it isn’t possible. She smiles and walks away, climbing back through her bedroom window. Quentin, reflecting as the narrator, says he “believed the smile” — the he thought Margo was happy, and that everything was fine. Quentin goes to bed, anticipating eagerly the things he will say to Margo at school the next day.
Though Margo makes it very clear that Quentin’s vision for their friendship is not going to happen, Quentin feels totally positive and continues to believe things will be different when he arrives at school the next day — that he will say all kinds of things to Margo that will solidify their relationship. He is too caught up in wishful thinking to hear what she is telling him, or investigate the meaning of her comments.
Themes
Perception vs. Reality Theme Icon
Human Connection Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon