Posted in Uncategorized

Margo and Alaska- Warning! Spoiler Alert!

Margo and Alaska

Warning! Spoiler alerts for Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska!

With the recent release of Paper Towns, a movie based on the John Green novel of the same name, there has been a lot of buzz about Margo Roth Spiegelman, one of the main characters. She is the novel’s catalyst, as is Alaska Young in Green’s Looking for Alaska. Some people have suggested that teenagers romanticize these characters and want to become like them. (In fact, there’s a Wikihow page that tells you how to be like Alaska.) This begs the question I want to begin with: Why do people want to be like Margo and Alaska?

It’s easy to morph Margo and Alaska into one person, but they’re clearly different people with distinct lives, problems, and interests. Margo is described as a “mystery,” and Alaska is a “hurricane.” However, they do share similar characteristics. Despite their struggles, they are confident, fun, unique, and beautiful. Guys are infatuated with them. Young women, especially teenage girls, want to be this; many long to be confident, mysterious, alluring, and naturally beautiful, qualities that Margo and Alaska have in abundance. They want a guy to care enough to write a book about them. Even Margo, who struggles with her identity as a “paper girl,” seems confident and is clearly fun to be around. We want these traits; we want to be exciting.

I think it’s important to keep in mind that these novels are written in third person, not first. We are getting a look at these young women through biased lenses. Green does an excellent job demonstrating how Miles Halter (aka Pudge) and Quentin Jacobsen, the narrators of Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, respectively, fail to see the complete persons they are infatuated with. Miles immediately found Alaska attractive, and this attraction is the basis of his infatuation. Green says on his Tumlbr that “that [Pudge’s] failure to imagine her complexly proves so disastrous to him and to her” (http://fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com/post/57820644828/hey-john-i-was-just-wondering-what-your). Quentin has also cared for Margo ever since they met, and he realizes that he doesn’t truly know her—this is summed up perfectly in one of my favorite sentences in the book: “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” However, Quentin is still in love with Margo as he learns more about her.

If we could hear Margo and Alaska’s stories, we may be able to more accurately understand how deep their problems are. Alaska had significant childhood problems, and Margo is coming to terms with her own paperness. As readers, we can only speculate as to whether or not there are any mental disorders involved. We live in a society that is all too eager to diagnose human conditions. Clearly, Margo and Alaska struggle with both serious life issues and typical teenage issues. They are admirable in their own ways, so it is tempting for young people to romanticize them; however, we should not aspire to become more “broken” than we already are. We can take the positive qualities and weigh the consequences of the negative ones, and if we seek to understand Margo, Alaska, and others like them, we can get a fuller picture of them and of ourselves.

References

Green, John. “Hey John, I Was Just Wondering…” John Green’s Blog. Tumblr. 09 August 2013. Web. LINK: http://fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com/post/57820644828/hey-john-i-was-just-wondering-what-your

Green, John. Looking for Alaska. New York: Dutton, 2015. Print.

Green, John. Paper Towns. New York: SPEAK, 2008. Print.

“Questions about Looking for Alaska (SPOILERS!).” John Green Books. WordPress, n.d. Web. LINK: http://johngreenbooks.com/alaska-questions/

Also, check this post out. It has some really great points!

“Paper Girls: Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns”

http://cantquitreading.blogspot.com/2011/10/paper-girls-looking-for-alaska-and.html

Posted in Uncategorized

Reading List

During this past hour, I have been very aggravated that I can’t find a good reading list app! I just want a place to organize all the books I want to (but might not ever) read. My solution? Post it.

So here it is. My incomplete and rather fickle reading list.

A Beautiful Mind

All the Bright Places

Anna Karenina

Beginning of Everything- Robin Schneider

The Catcher in the Rye

The Day the Music Died

Eleanor and Park

Every Last Word- Tamara Ireland

The Glass Menagerie (reread)

Go Set a Watchman

Great Expectations

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

Inside Out- Terry Trueman

Les Miserables

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The Outsiders

The Perks of Being a Wallflower I think I liked the movie better, but the book offered an interesting perspective.

Pillars of the Earth

Silar Marner

Since You’ve Been Gone- Morgan Matson

To Kill a Mockingbird

Water for Elephants

Posted in OCD

Red Hands

We talked about OCD recently in my psychology class. It reminded me of my high school days when my hands had to be “clean.” I would continuously turn on the faucet, lather on some soap, rinse, possibly repeat.

Red, raw, chapped hands. Tiny spots of blood from small cuts because the skin was so dry. Red up to my wrists.

There was so much more to my OCD than this, and there always will be. But this is one part of OCD that is mostly treated. I am not embarrassed to be at my desk and use my hands to write, type, or simply sit. Even though my problem runs much deeper than this, I am glad that at least one chapter is finished.