Turtles All the Way Down

by

John Green

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Turtles All the Way Down: Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lyle drives Aza and Daisy down a path through the Pickett estate. Aza notices that the estate is more majestic than she remembered and thinks that she loves the silence and how big the estate is. Daisy begins to ask Lyle about his work as head of security for Mr. Pickett, but Lyle seems aware that Daisy is interrogating him and won't give her any useful information. He offers up that Mr. Pickett doesn't like staff on the property before dawn or after dark before telling them that if Davis doesn't know the girls, he's taking them to the police station.
Subtlety is evidently not Daisy's strong suit: her use of language here is obvious and doesn't get her much useful information. Readers learn that Mr. Pickett was a private man in addition to being wealthy and a criminal, which begins to add layers to Mr. Pickett's identity. He's a man who very much desires to create order and control in his life, just like Aza does.
Themes
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon
Chaos vs. Order and Control Theme Icon
Language and Meaning Theme Icon
Lyle, Aza, and Daisy drive by the pool. The island in the middle is now covered in a geodesic dome, though the waterslides are still there. Lyle drives around to a patio where Davis is reclining on a pool lounger in his school uniform. Davis stands up when he sees the golf cart coming and confusedly greets Aza by name. He asks her emotionlessly why she's on the Pickett estate, and Daisy introduces herself and explains that their canoe sustained a puncture.
The fact that Davis has to wear a school uniform suggests that he attends a private school, and is therefore indicative of his privilege and his wealth. Aza is notably silent to the people she's with, so the reader is the only one privy to her thoughts at this point. Daisy takes on the responsibility of actually communicating.
Themes
Language and Meaning Theme Icon
Privilege, Power, and Wealth Theme Icon
Davis asks Aza if she can get her a Dr. Pepper, which he says he remembers is her favorite soda. Aza says yes, Lyle goes to fetch the Dr. Peppers, and Daisy looks at Aza with an I-told-you-so expression before wandering off. Davis says he's not good at chit-chat, and Aza suggests he say what he's thinking. He smiles and says that he wishes she weren't after the reward.
Davis believes that anyone who unexpectedly shows up at his house these days is obviously after his father and the reward money. Notably, he's not wrong here, but it suggests that he feels trapped and isolated by his name and the wealth attached to it.
Themes
Privilege, Power, and Wealth Theme Icon
Davis explains that he thought of Aza when his father first disappeared. The newscasters kept using Mr. Pickett's full name, which is also Davis’s name, and he found it weird. Aza insists that Davis isn't just his name. Davis says he remembers Aza telling him about her own name, which her parents gave her so she'd have something to call her own, while his dad by contrast made him a “Davis Jr”.
Davis doesn't feel as though he's an autonomous being because he has to share a name with his father. In this way, Davis suggests that sharing his father's name makes him a nonperson in much the same way that Daisy's work uniform makes her a nonperson by robbing her of individuality.
Themes
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Language and Meaning Theme Icon
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Davis says that many old friends have been in touch over the last week but insists he doesn't know where his father is. Daisy suddenly appears and explains the "truth”: she heard about Mr. Pickett on the radio, Aza said she had a crush on Davis when they were kids, so Daisy arranged for them to shipwreck their canoe, just like in The Tempest, and now Aza and Davis can live happily ever after. Daisy promptly disappears again.
Again, Daisy uses a Shakespeare reference to give the situation meaning and context, whether or not that meaning is actually true. We also see that despite Davis's fears that he isn't his own person, his father remains enough of a mystery to him that he doesn’t seem to have any idea what may have become of him.
Themes
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon
Language and Meaning Theme Icon
Aza insists that it's not exactly like The Tempest, and Davis says that Aza looks very grown up. Aza can't decide if she's scared or excited. She tells Davis she's sorry about his dad, but Davis says that his dad is a "huge shitbag." Aza thinks that when people talk about their dads like that, it almost makes her glad to not have a dad. Davis continues that anyone who knows where his father is won't say anything, because Mr. Pickett can pay more than $100,000 to keep them quiet. Davis says that the reward isn't even a lot of money.
Davis betrays just how wealthy and privileged he is when he insists that $100,000 isn't that much money. The reward money the entire reason that Daisy and Aza are even on the Pickett estate in the first place, so it's obviously a lot of money for them. Mr. Pickett must have a great deal of power and wealth if he is able to pay more than that to keep people silent.
Themes
Privilege, Power, and Wealth Theme Icon
Aza stares at Davis, and Davis apologizes for saying that it isn't a lot of money. He insists that his dad will get away with his escape. Daisy appears with a man whom Davis introduces as Malik, their zoologist. Daisy says they're going to meet a tuatara as Malik presses a button at the edge of the pool. A path emerges from the edge of the pool to the island in the middle, and the group walks across the bridge.
The Pickett estate has an onsite zoologist, another thing that's indicative of the Picketts family's wealth. Notice that even though Davis is blind to the value of money itself, he's not blind to the privileges his dad enjoys because of his money (e.g., getting away with this escape). In other words, he recognizes that there's much more to having money than the money itself.
Themes
Privilege, Power, and Wealth Theme Icon
They enter the dome, which is climate-controlled and tropical inside. Malik locates the tuatara, a female reptile named Tua, and brings her to the girls. Daisy pets the tuatara, but Aza refuses. Malik explains some facts about tuatara and asks again if Aza wants to pet her. Davis offers to give Aza and Daisy a ride home.
Even though Aza doesn't like Tua, it's important to consider that Tua lives in an environment that's highly controlled and ordered, which is something that Aza craves in her own life.
Themes
Chaos vs. Order and Control Theme Icon
Davis has to get something from the house, and Daisy pushes Aza to go with him. When they enter the house, Davis’s little brother, Noah, is playing a space video game in the living room and casually greets Aza without turning around. Davis goes up the stairs and a woman dressed all in white tells Aza that one of the paintings is a real Picasso. Aza looks at the woman and remembers Daisy's observation about what uniforms do. The woman tells Aza to go upstairs to look at the Rauschenberg. Aza goes upstairs and passes a pile of trash before looking into a room she believes is Davis'. There's a telescope pointing at the ceiling and his old Iron Man action figure is on his nightstand.
Aza doesn't have the knowledge to appreciate or even recognize modern art (the "trash pile" is the piece by Rauschenberg), which is a direct result of her lack of privilege in comparison to Davis. Both Pickett boys are looking at the sky: Noah at the fictional sky of his video game, and Davis at the actual sky through his telescope. This suggests that the brothers see things very differently. Noah prefers to see the world as a fantasy, while Davis is interested in seeing the entirety of the world.
Themes
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon
Privilege, Power, and Wealth Theme Icon
Aza picks up the Iron Man figure as Davis comes up behind her. Davis tells her to be careful with "the only physical item I actually love," and the two head back downstairs. Davis asks the woman in white, Rosa, if she'll stay until he gets back. As they walk to the car, Davis explains that Rosa is the house manager and is kind of a parent, though she only stays until six at night. Daisy is leaning against Davis’s Escalade, and Lyle tells Davis to be safe as they all get in the car.
Again, Davis’s car is a symbol of his wealth: it's large and imposing. However, his comment about loving his Iron Man figure suggests that the things that money can buy are less important to him than his Escalade and his fancy telescope might indicate.
Themes
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon
Privilege, Power, and Wealth Theme Icon
Davis says that it's exhausting to have everyone watching him all the time. Daisy suggests that they all think Davis knows where Mr. Pickett is, but Davis insists he has no idea and doesn't care. He explains that the best thing his dad can do for Noah is to stay away.
Davis feels more like an actor performing his life than he actually feels like himself, which adds another set of question to the already pressing question of identity faced by many of the novel’s characters: is one's identity just an act?
Themes
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At Aza's house, Daisy gets out of the Escalade. Aza takes Davis’s phone to type in her phone number. When she gives Davis his phone back, he grabs her right hand and says that he remembers her Band-Aid on her finger. Aza pulls her hand away. When Davis asks if it hurts, Aza says it's irrelevant. As they part, they tell each other that it was good to see one another.
Aza's finger is a constant and memorable part of her own identity, though she seems less than thrilled that it's something others notice and remember about her. This suggests that she'd like to keep this part of her identity private, even though that's impossible since it's her very visible finger.
Themes
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon