Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 258

In addition to the theme of mental illness, explored in the previous answer, Turtles All the Way Down also deals with the theme of friendship. Aza and Daisy are best friends, and Aza very much takes Daisy for granted. Daisy tolerates Aza's moodiness and "thought spirals," and she is as...

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In addition to the theme of mental illness, explored in the previous answer, Turtles All the Way Down also deals with the theme of friendship. Aza and Daisy are best friends, and Aza very much takes Daisy for granted. Daisy tolerates Aza's moodiness and "thought spirals," and she is as supportive a friend as anyone with a mental illness could wish for. Deep inside, however, Daisy is frustrated with her friend being so self-centered. For example, Aza has never bothered to read Daisy's Star Wars fan fiction, which the latter has been writing for years.

The girls' relationship is strained when they get a windfall of $100,000, which Davis gives them so that he would not suspect they are just hanging out with him because of the money. Aza criticizes Daisy for spending her money too fast, immediately buying a laptop and later, a car. Daisy does not appreciate the criticism, and points out that Aza, who has never experienced a lack of any much-needed item, cannot possibly judge her objectively.

Crisis develops when Aza finally reads Daisy's Star Wars writing, and recognizes herself in one of the characters, depicted as a tag-along who always ruins everything—in short, a nuisance. She feels betrayed and hurt. This leads to a confrontation while Aza is driving, which results in a serious accident. However, the fight clears the air, and their friendship survives despite the obstacles. Aza learns that each relationship has to be a two-way street, and both girls learn to appreciate each other and themselves for who they are.

Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 199

The main theme of Turtles All the Way Down is mental illness. The author, John Green, who himself suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, wrote a book in which the main character is constantly tormented by her anxiety and OCD. Every single aspect of her life is overshadowed by this. There is not one moment where she is free from thinking about the fact that she could, at any moment, catch a deadly disease through a cut on her finger.

She goes on an adventure with her best friend, Daisy, in which they attempt to find a missing billionaire, and she falls in love with the billionaire's son, Davis. However frightening these two things can be at times, they are never more frightening than her fear that she is not in control of her own mind. She feels that she will never overcome her anxiety and that her entire life will be spent dealing with this same struggle that never seems to improve.

Her struggle with her mental illness is at the core and the heart of the novel, and everything else revolves around it, just as it would in the real life of someone suffering from an anxiety disorder.

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