by saying you don’t care if the world falls apart, in some small way you’re saying you want it to stay together, on your terms.
This quote comes from Naperville Will Grayson in Chapter Twelve, presenting a pivotal moment where his thinking changes. Tiny has just entered Will’s life after Will has had his lowest of lows upon realizing Isaac was a lie. Will spirals and Tiny is there to soften the landing. Will feels seen by Tiny, has shared the truth of his sexuality and identity with him, and is emboldened to live a life true to himself. Because Will has hidden behind his anger and used it as a defense mechanism, he has never dealt with the complexities of his real emotions. In Will’s eyes, it is either anger or not caring. Now, as he begins to open up to the people around him, he finds that there is so much more out there and inside of himself. He realizes that he does care and has all along. He has complex wants, needs, desires, and expectations. In this realization, he can begin to move forward in finding love, truth, and himself.
All the things we keep in sealed boxes are both alive and dead until we open the box, that the unobserved is both there and not . . . that’s why I never put myself in a situation where I really need Tiny, and why I followed the rules instead of kissing her when she was available: I chose the closed box.
This quote by Evanston Will Grayson appears in Chapter Thirteen. Will and Jane are discussing Schrödinger's cat, an important symbol about the idea of truth. By relating this thought experiment to his life, Will makes crucial realizations about how he approaches his relationships. He has always kept the metaphorical box closed out of fear of being vulnerable and getting hurt. This defense has made him a side character in his own life. He watches from the side as everyone else lives, loves, and gets what they want, and he begins to realize how unfulfilling it is. He saw Naperville Will open the box to find Isaac was fake and the proverbial cat was dead and that scared Evanston Will. When Jane gets a boyfriend, he sees that keeping the box closed doesn’t mean he won’t get hurt. The truth will be the truth no matter if the box is open or closed. If he takes a chance and opens it, he may get hurt, but he also may find he likes what’s inside. This truth also applies to his relationship with Tiny. Will does not want to find out if Tiny really cares because he knows if Tiny doesn’t, Will will be devastated. Understanding truth through this symbol allows Will to take a chance on being vulnerable whether or not the truth is what he wants it to be.
When did who you want to screw become the whole game? Since when is the person you want to screw the only person you get to love?
Evanston Will Grayson says this to Tiny in Chapter Seventeen. There are many versions of love in this story including romantic love, platonic love, and familial love. The teenagers in this coming-of-age story often focus on romantic love as they discover themselves and their sexuality. For example, Tiny falls in love with a new guy seemingly every week. Both Wills first understand love in a romantic sense with Isaac and Jane. Through their hardships in their pursuits of self-discovery they realize that their relationships with family and friends are just as important as their romantic pursuits. However, it can be uncomfortable for these teenagers to admit they love their friends and family especially when they have been so closed off. This quote comes at an important moment in Evanston Will’s life when he realizes that truth and love go hand-in-hand and he must tell Tiny how much he means to him in order to save their friendship. Will’s vulnerable moment ultimately allows their friendship to progress and flourish.