Turtles All the Way Down

by

John Green

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Turtles All the Way Down: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As Aza drives Daisy home, they argue about whether or not Aza has a crush on Davis. Daisy declares that Davis is part of the "vast boy middle" of boys that would be fine if they'd dress well and listen. Aza insists she doesn't want to date anyone and explains to the reader that although she certainly experiences attraction to people, the normal activities of a relationship like kissing, holding hands, and having to say the right thing make her endlessly anxious. Daisy declares that she'd love to date Davis if he weren't obviously in love with Aza.
Aza's anxiety hinders her ability to make meaningful romantic connections with others, which works to isolate her further and make her mind an even less fun place for her to be. Aza is especially anxious about needing to control what language she uses to talk to a potential partner. She fears that the way she currently uses language and thinks aren't romantic or "appropriate."
Themes
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon
Language and Meaning Theme Icon
Daisy asks Aza if she knows who will inherit Mr. Pickett's fortune when he dies. Aza makes a few guesses and Daisy says that Tua the tuatara will inherit all of it, not Davis and Noah. Daisy reads a news article from the previous year out loud announcing the decision. Mr. Pickett is quoted as saying that his estate will benefit "Tua and only Tua," until she dies, and then it will benefit tuatara everywhere. Daisy remarks that it's quite the insult to the Pickett children to leave them nothing.
The decision to leave his estate to an animal rather than his sons shows very clearly where Mr. Pickett places value—and it's not on creating relationships with his children. This is verified by Davis’s earlier statement that his dad was a "huge shitbag," though this knowledge takes Davis's assessment a step further.
Themes
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon
Privilege, Power, and Wealth Theme Icon
Daisy wonders if Davis would turn in Mr. Pickett if he knew where his father was. Daisy and Aza wonder who might have helped him disappear, and Aza says that it must be kind of awful for Davis having people in his house all day that aren't family. Daisy laughs about thinking servants are awful, rattles off their respective to-do lists for the Mr. Pickett mystery, and slams Harold's door as she gets out.
Remember that Daisy has to do everything for herself and a lot for her family. For her, having help in the form of servants would make life much easier, while for Davis, having these people around to help him is stifling. His privilege blinds him to the fact that his nightmare is someone else's daydream.
Themes
Chaos vs. Order and Control Theme Icon
Privilege, Power, and Wealth Theme Icon
Aza watches TV with Mom when she gets home, but she starts to struggle with intrusive thoughts about Davis holding her hand. She explains that she calls the thoughts "invasives," because they take over her mind like invasive weeds until she can't think of anything else. She thinks she needs to check her finger for infection and since it's an invasive thought, she can't make the thought go away. Finally, Aza excuses herself to the bathroom and finds moisture on the pad of the Band-Aid. Though it could be sweat, it could also be nasty river water or drainage from an infection. Aza squeezes hand sanitizer onto her finger and scrubs her hands before reopening the wound on her finger pad. She re-bandages it and feels relieved to have given in to the invasive thought. Aza says that the same thing will repeat and the spiral will continue to tighten.
When the intrusive thoughts start, Aza feels entirely at the mercy of the thoughts and what they tell her to do. Notice that Aza pits her self against both her body and her mind. The way she sees it, no part of her is on her side. This passage shows that giving into the intrusive thoughts can bring Aza a sense of comfort and order: she can breathe easy knowing that she prevented the infection in her finger for today, though she makes it very clear that this process will repeat again and again.
Themes
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon
Chaos vs. Order and Control Theme Icon
Language and Meaning Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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