Turtles All the Way Down

by

John Green

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Turtles All the Way Down: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Aza tells the reader that she and Davis texted and facetimed almost every night for a while, her spirals continued, and the medication and changing the Band-Aid kind of worked. One night, Aza begins to read Daisy's fanfiction. The most recent story, narrated by Rey, tells about Rey, Chewbacca, and their companion Ayala, whom Rey deems her "best friend and greatest burden." Ayala is very anxious and Rey describes how she and Chewbacca only shelter Ayala because her father died saving Chewbacca years ago. Ayala habitually pulls out her blue hair.
Aza makes it very clear that despite the fact that she lives with these intensely painful spirals, life goes on and the spirals don't consume all of her life. This shows that even within the month-long timeframe of the story, Aza lives in a cycle of relative wellness and illness. Readers now see how Daisy deals with the struggles of everyday life: she transposes the problems in her life onto the lives of fictional Star Wars characters.
Themes
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Aza thinks that Ayala is horrible. She ruins everything for Rey and Chewbacca. Many of the comments say that people love to hate Ayala, and Daisy has replied positively to most of them. Aza reads a bunch of stories and learns that Ayala never does anything right in any of the stories. Aza stays up too late reading, angry and scared. She understands that Daisy sees her as clueless, helpless, and useless.
Aza sees that Ayala is intended to represent her. What makes Ayala all the more terrifying for Aza is that Ayala is a version of Aza that is entirely beyond Aza’s control, since she's Daisy's creation. Aza reads Daisy's positive comments as an endorsement that Ayala (and Aza by extension) are characters that are supposed to be despised.
Themes
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When Aza sees Daisy at school, she feels like Daisy is only right to deal with her by creating the character Ayala. Daisy asks Aza what's wrong and says that Aza looks horrible and like she needs some sleep. Daisy asks if she can come over after school. Aza wants to say no, but thinks that Ayala always says no. She agrees to the hangout and Daisy explains that she and Mychal are reading A Midsummer Night's Dream to each other for English after Daisy and Aza hang out.
Now that Aza has been forced to step outside of her own head and understand how Daisy sees her, her degree of self-loathing increases tenfold. However, notice that Daisy is treating Aza with care (suggesting sleep, asking what's wrong, and asking to spend time together). This complicates Aza's understanding of what Daisy thinks, as it appears that Daisy doesn't hate Aza.
Themes
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After school, Aza mostly watches Daisy watch Attack of the Clones and scrolls through articles about Mr. Pickett's disappearance. Daisy says something about her fanfiction stories and asks Aza what she's doing. When Aza explains, Daisy says that the mystery is over, especially since Davis paid them to drop it. Aza thinks that Daisy is right but is being rude about it.
Daisy continues to insist that the mystery is over: she and Aza may not have solved Mr. Pickett's mysterious disappearance, but they received the money they were after. For Daisy, the money was the end result, while knowledge of what actually happened isn't.
Themes
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A minute later, Daisy pauses the movie and says that in their real-life situation, the girl isn't going to get rich, decide the truth matters more than money, and go back to being poor to become a hero. Aza quietly says that nobody is taking Daisy's money away and points out that Daisy spends all her time with Mychal now. They go back to watching the movie, and Daisy says "I love you" when she leaves for Mychal's house.
Daisy feels threatened by Aza's insistence that the money isn't the end of the mystery. Daisy also implies that one can't be rich and a hero—an indication that she knows that keeping the money is not the most noble thing. However, the money clearly represents a more significant change in Daisy’s life than it represents in Aza’s, so she’s perhaps less willing to give it up.
Themes
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon
Privilege, Power, and Wealth Theme Icon
Related Quotes