Student Question

Does the character Margo die in Paper Towns?

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In Paper Towns, the narrator Quentin is a typical high school student with a stable background who is conflicted in deciding what he wants from life. The only eventful occurrence in his life to date was finding a dead body with his then best friend Margo some years before. Quentin and Margo have drifted apart, and with high school graduation imminent, Margo unexpectedly asks Quentin to help her secure her revenge on friends who have betrayed her. "Tonight, darling, we are going to right a lot of wrongs," says Margo.

Margo has always been rebellious and has run away from home on various occasions, but these recent activities make Quentin anxious. Margo convinces him that if his "heart is really pounding" that is because he's "having fun." He even takes revenge on Chuck Parson, who used to bully him. After the night's activities, Quentin just makes it to school and spends his day contemplating what may or may not happen now. However, he does not even see Margo and a missing person's report is filed after three days. Her parents are not particularly concerned because of Margo's history of disappearing. 

Quentin is convinced that Margo has left him clues so that he can find her and believes that she has run away from her "fake" life because she is disillusioned. Having pieced all the apparent clues together, Quentin and his friends leave before their graduation and follow Margo's trail because Quentin thinks he needs to save her from herself. Eventually, they do indeed find Margo but she is not the grateful, lost and confused girl he expects; she brings him down to earth when she tells him that she is not "poor little Margo" and she has no intention of being "oh-so-thankful to my knight in shining armor." Margo did not want to be found! So, no, Margo does not die and it remains to be seen whether she will keep her promise to stay in touch. 

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