Chapters Five & Six

Summary: Chapter Five (Evanston Will)

Will’s father calls him into the living room to discuss college. Both of Will’s parents work at a hospital. Will’s father tells him about an accelerated medical program at Northwestern University. Will believes that his parents know what is best for him, so he agrees, even though he is not even a senior yet. 

Clint approaches Will at school and tells him that he wants to approve Tiny’s musical, because it will be funny and embarrass Will. Outside, Will lends Jane his jacket. He finds it in his locker later in the day. Will confronts Tiny about the musical, asking him not to go forward. Tiny tells him that Clint, the vice president of the student council, has secured $1000 for the production. Tiny also tells Will that “Gil Wrayson,” a character in the musical, is entirely fictional, and not based on Will. They argue about whether Will should date Jane. Tiny tells Will that he needs to be part of the musical’s cast, an offer Will declines. 

In preparation for the show on Friday, Will downloads all of the songs by the Maybe Dead Cats. He calls Jane and they talk about the band. She asks if he found the note in his jacket. He checks his jacket and reads the note, which says that Jane watched him input his locker combination, and that “I guess chivalry isn’t dead.” Will has even more conflicted feelings for Jane. He tells her that the note is “cute,” and Jane says, “forget it.” She tells him that she misses her boyfriend and that Will seemed a likely replacement. Will calls Tiny and explains everything. Tiny tells Will that he is acting “like a girl.” 

At school, Will secretly watches Jane input her locker combination. He then emails the Maybe Dead Cats and asks if they can dedicate the song, “Annus Mirabilis” to “25-2-11” (Jane’s locker combination). When Will, Tiny, and Jane reach the show, Will cannot enter, because according to his fake ID, he is only twenty: Paulie put down the wrong year. His friends go in without him, and Will decides to go to the adult bookstore across the street, so he can use his fake ID and have a good story. He is confused by most of the merchandise in the store, but he buys a magazine, Mano a Mano.

Summary: Chapter Six (Naperville Will)

Will looks forward to meeting Isaac in Chicago on Friday. Derek reminds Will that there is a mathletes competition on Friday after school. Will tells Derek and Simon that he has plans. They tell him that he needs to find a replacement. Will confides in Simon that he has a date. Will asks Maura to take his spot on the mathletes team, telling her that he has to go to Chicago with his mother. She grudgingly agrees, after Will says that he will owe her a favor and give her fifty dollars. 

On the train ride to the city, Will thinks about his dating history. He had an awkward encounter with a girl named Carissa. It made Maura jealous, even though Will did not entirely enjoy the experience. Will thinks about how he is meeting Isaac for a meaningful connection and not just a physical one. He has looked at Isaac’s online profile many times and is certain that he is not being tricked by someone who will try to kidnap him.

Isaac told Will that they should meet at Frenchy’s (a place that Isaac’s friend recommended). Frenchy’s turns out to be a porn store. Will is confused and uncomfortable. He thinks that maybe it is a joke, and that Isaac is waiting inside. He goes inside the store.

Analysis: Chapters Five & Six

Pushing and pulling is figuratively and literally used as a motif for Evanston Will. His chapter opens with Will’s father pushing him toward Northwestern for a career in medicine. Will resigns himself to this fate and states that everyone else knows more about what is best for him than he does. Will does not yet understand himself and therefore forms his identity based on the expectations of those around him, believing it is easier that way. His fear of being hurt pulls him back from pursuing his identity. Once again, Tiny pushes Will to find his identity through the character of Gil Wrayson, Will’s identity in the play. Will is afraid of seeing himself reflected in the play and refuses. Then, as the characters stand in line, Tiny literally pushes Will ahead of him. It is then that Will finds out the problem with his fake ID, as well as his fake identity, and is pulled away from the concert. Will is drawn to the porn store to prove the value of his fake identity, and this push and pull creates tension as Will begins to find out who he is.

Foreshadowing the reveal of Isaac’s identity, Naperville Will must rely on deceit in order to meet Isaac. Will’s excuse for missing the mathletes competition to go meet Isaac is “something remotely resembling the truth.” When given the opportunity to tell the truth, he withholds. In trying to convince Maura to cover for him, he prioritizes his lies and says he is thankful he didn’t have to say he had to see his sick grandmother. He is essentially lying to himself in order to justify lying to everyone else. Again, Maura lets on that she knows he is lying, giving Will an opportunity to be honest. He doubles down on his lie and plays on her sympathy for his single parent home. At home, Will must continually review Isaac’s pictures to convince himself he is real. Will lies to his mother to get her to let him go to Chicago. On the train ride, Will reviews his past hookups, none of which were genuine. Finally, he must rationalize his rendezvous at Frenchy’s by fabricating a story about how Isaac must have suggested it as a joke. Will’s meeting with Isaac is made possible by a web of fabrications and leads him into the biggest lie of them all.