Chapters Nineteen & Twenty
Summary: Chapter Nineteen (Evanston Will)
Jane and Evanston Will arrive early to the auditorium. Will finds Tiny in the bathroom, throwing up. Will asks Jane to get some tea and Pepto-Bismol for Tiny. Will helps Tiny out of the bathroom and tries to comfort him. Tiny’s voice is hoarse from throwing up. He is worried that his voice will not return, that the show will be a disaster. He is also worried about Naperville Will. Evanston Will goes to look for the other Will in the audience but does not find him. Tiny drinks the Pepto-Bismol and feels better.
Evanston Will and Jane help backstage as the show progresses. The first scene involves Tiny and Phil Wrayson in Little League together. The next scene in the musical shows Tiny coming out to his parents and then to Phil Wrayson. The audience loves the show. After the intermission, the next scene takes place on an old swing set. Evanston Will knows that Tiny is scanning the audience for Naperville Will. When the second half of the musical starts, Evanston Will’s phone vibrates: Naperville Will is calling him.
Summary: Chapter Twenty (Naperville Will)
Naperville Will and Gideon drive to the auditorium and arrive just before the show’s second half. Will sees a swing set being placed on stage; it is nearly identical to the one that he and Tiny sat on. Will realizes that he is becoming more comfortable with himself, and that this is what Tiny and Maura both wanted for him. The final scene in the musical has a series of cast members dressed as Tiny’s ex-boyfriends. Tiny discusses each of them. Naperville Will contacts Evanston Will and they meet. Naperville Will tells him the plan. Evanston Will is concerned but agrees. When Tiny finally gets to the last ex-boyfriend, a representation of Naperville Will, he tells the audience that everyone feels sorrow for the difference between reality and what they want from the world. Tiny then talks about how people fall in love and then land painfully, but they should be willing to keep falling. Naperville Will feels that his life has been nothing but falling, and he is terrified of the impact with the ground.
When the show is almost over, the stage goes dark except for a spotlight on Tiny. Naperville Will yells at Tiny from the audience. He says his name, and he says that he appreciates Tiny Cooper. A series of other Will Graysons, whom Naperville Will and Gideon have contacted, introduce themselves and say that they appreciate Tiny Cooper, as well. Evanston Will and Jane do the same, and then the entire cast and most of the audience also follow with words of appreciation. Naperville Will and Gideon look to each other. They are happy that their plan has worked.
Analysis: Chapters Nineteen & Twenty
Tiny’s play acts as a conduit for characters to understand and appreciate the truth about themselves. Through the play, Tiny conveys not only his truth but also how he sees the truths in everyone else, particularly Evanston Will. Evanston Will wouldn’t have ever been okay with the play prior to his evolution. It goes against everything he used to believe in. Now, he can be comfortable with the truth and appreciate how amazing it is. Tiny’s truth shows the other side of their relationship by revealing how much Tiny loves him and the things that Will didn’t see in himself. By standing up for Will in Little League, Tiny showed that he cares deeply, speaks up, feels strongly, and is a kind and loyal friend. Until now, Will believed the opposite. Tiny’s play manages to confess both of their truths.
The story culminates with presenting the theme of identity as an undertaking, with Tiny’s play showing the characters the importance of their uncomfortable journeys in shaping who they are. In the beginning, both Wills were resistant to change. They preferred to remain stagnant for fear of getting hurt. Throughout the story they found that the only way to grow is to be vulnerable and risk getting hurt. When the Wills speak online about trial and error, they show their understanding of this risk. Tiny makes a production of this idea in his play with the swing set and the falling and landing. The falling is the uncomfortable process of growth in being vulnerable. Tiny says they cannot be afraid to fall because of how hard the landing will be. Through the play, Tiny expresses how important the falling is and how it is worth the landing. Naperville Will says that he wants to show Tiny that it’s really about the floating, meaning that with the people they love around them, they can float so the landing doesn’t hurt as much. In this process of falling, they become who they are meant to be.