The Negative Influence of Friends and Family on the Characters in Paper Towns, a Novel by John Green

Development Reflecting Badly on Characters Change. Whether it be good or bad, it is a significant part of life. Everything is constantly changing. In a story, change is good, but it is also bad. In the novel Paper Towns by John Green, the friends and family influence the characters in a negative way by creating an external conflict, making characters act differently, and affecting the characters’ relationship with each other.

First, they influence the characters’ actions by creating the external conflict of Margo’s disappearance.

The main reason why Margo ran away was because of her family. Specifically, her parents. Margo’s parents didn’t really care about her in the way that usual parents do. For example, when Margo disappeared, her mother said “Look, is it sick that it’s a blessing to have her out of the house? Of course it’s sick. But she was a sickness in this family!” (Green 103).

Margo’s parents didn’t care that she ran away, whereas if Quentin ran away, his parents would be really worried.

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Even before Margo left, her parents didn’t treat her that nicely. The way they treat her really affects Margo. For example, in real life, if someone’s parents asked their teenage daughter or son to do something they really didn’t want to do, they would just do the opposite of what their parents asked. Also, Margo somewhat influenced herself to run away. In particular, near the end of Paper Towns, when Margo was talking to Q, she admitted that it wasn’t just her family and friends that made her run away, it was also herself.

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Margo put on a “mask” and showed everyone someone that she wasn’t and in the end, she regretted that. Margo ran away from her problems when instead, she should have stayed and tried to resolve them because running away from your problems don’t make them go away.

Quentin was exceptionally affected by Margo’s disappearance, which brings me to my next topic, and that is, characters like Q, acting differently. Ever since Margo left and even during their night of schemes, Q hadn’t been acting truly like himself. For example, during that night before she left, Margo was trying to make Quentin more of a “badass”, which isn’t really like him. And Margo said to Q, “Part ten-Q’s turn to pick a victim.” and then “I already picked a punishment. Now you just pick who we’re going to rain our mighty wrath down on.” (Green 59) He was encouraged by Margo to pull a prank on Chuck when he really didn’t want to.

Furthermore, after Margo left, Quentin changed a lot. Some changes were in good ways, while some were also in bad ways. For instance, Q was developing bad habits, like how he skipped school to find more clues, saying to his mother, “I think I have a stomach bug” (Green 136) and he even skipped his own graduation. Bad habits become addictive and in the long run, it will traumatize your relationships with your family or friends.

Finally, my last argument is that Margo herself, and her disappearance affected the relationships between Q and his friends and family. First, it affected Q and Ben’s relationship because Q expected everyone to be like him, obsessing over finding the clues and “saving” Margo. An example of this is when Q thinks to himself, “Ben didn’t give a shit about me either.

Maybe our friendship had always been about convenience-he didn’t have anyone cooler than me to play video games with. And now he didn’t have to be nice to me, or care about the things i cared about, because he has Jase Worthington” (Green 191). Throughout the book, Quentin always wanted Ben to change. He never really accepted him for who he was. Especially during their fight when Q wanted to talk to Ben about Margo but, Ben needed to rest because he was hungover. Margo changed the way Q thought of his friends. It also affected Q’s relationship with his parents. Ever since Q had found Margo’s first clues, he had been lying to his parents a lot.

Like when Q said that he was going to prom when really, he was going to the mini mall, and also, he faked being sick. One Quote is when Quentin says, “Can I take the minivan?” and then says to his parents, “Decided to go to prom. Gotta pick out a tux and then get over to Ben’s.” (Green 164). When you lie to your parents, they’ll eventually find the truth ’cause, the truth always comes out. So, Q’s parents would eventually find out what he’s been doing and their relationship would be affected because I would lose his parents’ trust.

All things will ultimately change. Whether it be relationships, people, feelings, etc. And while change and development can be significant in life and novels, i believe that sometimes, change and development in a novel is bad. Therefore, the friends and family of Margo and Quentin, impacted their lives negatively because conflict was developed, they started to act strangely, and their relationships were greatly affected. Change is hard, but the only way to accept it, is to realize that it’s unavoidable.

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The Negative Influence of Friends and Family on the Characters in Paper Towns, a Novel by John Green. (2022, Mar 31). Retrieved from

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