Paper Towns by Green John

Paper Towns by Green John

Author:Green, John [Green, John]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: 2010-05-03T07:00:00+00:00

The day passed as it always did—in slow motion, with a thousand plaintive glances at the clock. But now it was even more unbearable, because every minute I wasted in school was another minute in which I failed to find her.

My only vaguely interesting class that day was English, when Dr. Holden completely ruined Moby Dick for me by incorrectly assuming we’d all read it and talking about Captain Ahab and his obsession with finding and killing this white whale. But it was fun to watch her get more and more excited as she talked. “Ahab’s a madman railing against fate. You never see Ahab wanting anything else in this whole novel, do you? He has a singular obsession. And because he is the captain of his ship, no one can stop him. You can argue—indeed, you may argue, if you choose to write about him for your final reaction papers—that Ahab is a fool for being obsessed. But you could also argue that there is something tragically heroic about fighting this battle he is doomed to lose. Is Ahab’s hope a kind of insanity, or is it the very definition of humanness?” I wrote down as much as I could of what she said, realizing that I could probably pull off my final reaction paper without actually reading the book. As she talked, it occurred to me that Dr. Holden was unusually good at reading stuff. And she’d said she liked Whitman. So when the bell rang, I took Leaves of Grass from my bag and then zipped it back up slowly while everyone raced off either to home or to extracurriculars. I waited behind someone asking for an extension on an already late paper, and then he left.

“It’s my favorite Whitman reader,” she said.

I forced a smile. “Do you know Margo Roth Spiegelman?” I asked.

She sat down behind her desk and motioned for me to sit. “I never had her in class,” Dr. Holden said, “but I’ve certainly heard of her. I know that she ran away.”

“She sort of left me this book of poems before she, uh, disappeared.” I handed the book over, and Dr. Holden began paging through it slowly. As she did, I told her, “I’ve been thinking a lot about the highlighted parts. If you go to the end of ‘Song of Myself,’ she highlights this stuff about dying. Like, ‘If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.’”

“She left this for you,” Dr. Holden said quietly.

“Yeah,” I said.

She flipped back and tapped at the green highlighted quote with her fingernail. “What is this about the doorjambs? That’s a great moment in the poem, where Whitman—I mean, you can feel him shouting at you: ‘Open the doors! In fact, remove the doors!’”

“She actually left me something else inside my doorjamb.”

Dr. Holden laughed. “Wow. Clever. But it’s such a great poem—I hate to see it reduced to such a literal reading. And she seems to have responded very darkly to what is finally a very optimistic poem.


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