unpopular opinion about incest
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“Darth Vader says ‘NOOOO!’”
Margo’s last name comes from the German word Spiegel, which literally means “looking-glass.” The Spiegelmans throughout German towns and villages were the mirror making families who for generations crafted mirrors for their communities. Margo Roth Spiegelman is not exempt from the function her last name requests of her; in the community of Paper Towns the characters, Margo’s friends and family, use her as a mirror. When these characters look at Margo the reader sees only perverse reflections of who the characters looking into the Spiegel are. Many times as readers we too read the characters in books as mirrors, sometimes authors ask this of us, other times we struggle to champion our solipsistic natures and our readings struggle for it. Paper Towns is of course Quentin’s quest for a physically missing Margo, but this search is really only a metaphor for the more important quest of the novel which is to find the real Margo buried beneath the mired reflections.
In “Song of Myself” it is through language, the sounding of Whitman’s barbaric yawp, that he transcends himself and becomes a part of all of us— the readers, humanity, filtering and giving fibre to our blood. Here’s an exerpt from the end of “Song of Myself” where all of this transpires:
For Quentin and Margo it’s the Paper Town Agloe a fictitious markings on a paper map that ultimately brings them together to stare between the cracks in their hulls. What I would argue, what I think John Green, Whitman, and all authors would argue is that it’s language, symbolism, metaphor, and fictions, markings on paper bound as books, that steer our ships close enough for us to peer through the cracks into one another. Being human means to struggle with the pain of experience and absence, to struggle with achy bones and the consequences of experiencing each other, time, and space through loaned flesh, to struggle with what it means to be a breathing beating soul now in this place and what it has always meant to us— to be us. Being a reader means we don’t yawp alone, we sail together.