Chapters Nine & Ten
Summary: Chapter Nine (Evanston Will)
Tiny talks to Naperville Will, and Evanston Will is amazed at how skilled Tiny is at comforting people who have experienced heartbreak. Evanston Will steps away to talk to Jane, who is on her cell phone. Evanston Will waits and the two go for a walk. Evanston Will explains what happened to Naperville Will. Jane asks Evanston Will if he believes in epiphanies. He says that he does not, and asks who has had an epiphany. Evanston Will suggests that they be completely honest with each other for ten minutes, and she agrees.
Evanston Will says that he likes her and thinks that she is beautiful, despite her being a music snob. She tells him that she knew that her ex-boyfriend, Randall, would be at the MDC show. Randall told Jane that he had an epiphany, that he and Jane were supposed to be together. Randall then quoted an e. e. cummings poem about how “kisses are a better fate than wisdom.” Jane finishes by telling Evanston Will that Randall had MDC dedicate a song to her, by using her locker combination. Evanston Will chooses not to tell her that he was the one who had the song dedicated. He does tell her that he thinks that he does not approve of Randall, even though he does not know him. Evanston Will also tells Jane that he is Jane’s “Plan B,” so she should be with Randall. They start kissing, and Evanston Will enjoys it.
When the ten minutes is up, Jane tells Evanston Will, “I have to find out if I believe in epiphanies.” She hails a cab and leaves. Evanston Will tries to call Tiny and walks around looking for him. Unsuccessful, he drives home in silence, thinking about the day. When he gets home, he researches e. e. cummings. The next day at school, he slips a note into Jane’s locker that says, “e. e. cummings cheated on both of his wives. With prostitutes.”
Summary: Chapter Ten (Naperville Will)
While Naperville Will is having an emotional meltdown, Evanston Will tells him: “I know it sucks, but in a way, it’s good… love and truth being tied together, I mean. They make each other possible, you know?” Naperville Will is struck by the fact that other Will actually listened to him and that the statement is accurate.
Tiny sings a song from Tiny Dancer in an attempt to cheer up Naperville Will. The two eventually go for a walk to Millennium Park. Naperville Will is amazed at Tiny’s positivity, sincerity and energy. Through their conversation, it becomes evident that Naperville Will does not like himself. Tiny tells him that he likes him. Naperville Will realizes that Tiny is sincere and that Tiny “sees him.” Tiny tells Naperville Will that he does not kiss on the first date, but he will make an exception. Naperville Will suddenly finds him attractive and they kiss. Naperville Will is jealous that Evanston Will has a friend like Tiny. They talk more and get to know one another, and Naperville Will warns Tiny that “you have no idea how wrong you are about me.” Tiny replies, “You have no idea how wrong you are about yourself.”
Naperville Will wants the relationship to be “truthful,” and becomes concerned with “how the hell this is ever going to work.”
Analysis: Chapters Nine & Ten
The motif of arts and culture is used to bring the characters together in the pursuit of living a life of truth. Previously, Evanston Will and Jane first hung out when they tried to go to the Neutral Milk Hotel concert. In their conversations afterward, they bond over talking about music. However, when Will is ready to make a move, he cannot enter the Mostly Dead Cats concert because of his fake ID. His inability to be honest prevents him from getting close to Jane. Jane went without him and connected with her ex-boyfriend over the song dedication instead of Will. Yet almost as though she subconsciously knows the truth, Jane is drawn to Will and apologizes for going to the concert. She wants to be with him but doesn’t realize that yet because she doesn’t know the truth. Will is ready to be honest with Jane because he understands that truth is tied to love. Will uses e.e. cummings as a way to convey his feelings just like Jane’s ex. However, Will uses the poet to show Jane that even though e.e. cummings wrote about romance, he cheated on his wives. This subversion shows that Will understands now that actions are more important than words in order to live in a truthful way. That is why he does not tell Jane that he dedicated the Mostly Dead Cats song to her. He is determined to prove truth in love through his actions, contrary to his previous life strategies. The arts and culture motif constantly pulls the characters back toward each other in truth when they are pushed apart by lies.
In the pursuit of a true identity, Tiny tries to push Naperville Will into discovering himself now that the lie of Isaac is torn away. Will says he doesn’t want to put the pieces of his shattered former self back together and would rather die. Tiny won’t let him. When Tiny won’t leave him alone, Will at last feels seen. Will is surprised by how much he is drawn to Tiny. He is not attracted to him physically, but he is attracted to how confident and self-assured Tiny is. Tiny brings Will to the bean to help him see himself. However, Will’s reflection is distorted because he isn’t sure who he is just yet. Will is so confused by his own identity that he tells Tiny he hates gay people despite being gay himself. It appears Will fills in the gaps with stereotypes inauthentic to himself which leads to self-hatred. Despite Will’s attempt to push Tiny away, Tiny still sees him. Tiny starts to fall for Will because he is being true to himself. Will doesn’t totally understand the connection between truth and love but with Tiny’s help he begins to understand the value in his identity.