Saturday, 12 September 2015

Paper Towns:The Spiegelman Effect

There's always that one person in a group of people that leaves a lasting memory. For whatever reason it's hard to forget them. Take for example the hypothetical green eyed guy in the red jumper. Stood among his brown eyed friends, he's something of an anomaly. A Margo Roth Spiegelman if you please. In any other circumstance you'd probably walk past this guy, but something about the greenness of his eyes seems to trigger a whole fleet of emotions. It's debatable whether or not your inability to forget this guy is due to his eyes or the fact that he's just really hot and you definitely plan on googling him later. But for those few moments in his presence, he seems like the coolest, most fascinating person on Earth.

You spend the first few hours after seeing that person deliberating why you find them so intriguing. Something about the depth of his eyes right? You go through the whole encounter again; attempting to relive each and every single moment (even if your interaction lasted less than a second and consisted of you staring at them creepily whilst they played pool). You zoom in on trivial details any other person would rightly bypass: the shade of lipstick, hair scrunchie design, T-shirt print. It all becomes unnecessarily necessary.

Soon enough though, they become nothing more than a 3 dimensional structure. A month after meeting this person everything just seems to become a part of your imagination. The only things you can recall about them don't even seem realistic any more and they become just another memory. They become this person you've created in your head. This broken scaffold of flesh and bones, the foundations clearly unstable and the only thing supporting the weight of the walls is the possibility that maybe they are exactly the way you've pictured them to be. You construct this person in your mind who's possibly completely alternate to the real life person.

You see, that hypothetical green eyed guy in the red jumper, however deep and intriguing he may seem, is probably nothing more than a green eyed guy in a red jumper. It's most likely he's just an ordinary teen with really nice looking eyes and an unhealthy laffy taffy obsession. And in the worst case, he could be a complete jerk (which would most definitely suck considering I was beginning to like the whole idea of this hypothetical green eyed guy).

People aren't always what you think they are and the chances are that your idea of someone bears no resemblance to that of the person themselves. That's the thing about the Spiegelman effect. It kind of leaves you wishing that reality was a little more blurred. Maybe then we'd all be a little like Margo Roth Spiegelman. Paper people certainly, but Margos nevertheless.


  1. In Paper Towns people are described as misimagined. We make up so many ideas of what they're like and who they are, but really they're just another person, and it's a treacherous thing to see anyone as any more than that. It's funny though, how someone is always the remembered one. We describe their group of people under their name, because for some reason they stick out. I reckon everyone wants to be a Margo, but all Margo is is a paper girl who can manipulate people's misimaginations.

    The Life of Little Me

    1. I totally agree with you M. I feel like I've always wanted to be a Margo, you know, someone who you'll never forget. But after 2 years of high school i've realised it's not worth all the effort I'd put in. I want to be memorable but only if others want to remember me and I don't want to just be some false structure in someone's head. I want to be me and I think that all starts with not giving an f about what others think of you and just being the real you.

  2. This is such an interesting post! I saw Paper Towns three times, and never thought about it this way. I love the unique perspective.

    Emily // Lynde Avenue Designs