Study Guide

Paper Towns Prologue

By John Green

Prologue

  • When our narrator, Quentin, is nine, he and his next door neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, are playing together in a park when they find a dead man. Kids these days… when we were that age, we weren't playing with dead people.
  • Quentin freaks out, taking two steps back, but Margo, like a young Paula Abdul, takes two steps forward.
  • Margo touches the dead dude's foot while Quentin continues to lose it.
  • He grabs her and tells her that they should leave, and they run to their bikes and ride home.


  • Their parents call 9-1-1, and the next day they find out the dead man was named Robert Joyner; he killed himself in the park.
  • Margo comes to Quentin's window that night, and the two kids wonder why he shot himself.
  • Margo speculates, "Maybe all the strings inside him broke" (Prologue.32).
  • Quentin opens the window to let her in, but she doesn't come inside. She just stares at him. Because that's not creepy at all.
  • He says, "in my memory, it doesn't end. We just stay there, looking at each other, forever" (Prologue.35).