A Classic Couple: The Song of the Lark and Paper Towns

It seems fitting that books by two of my favorite authors—Willa Cather and John Green—would connect across different centuries. As mentioned in a past Top Ten Tuesday post about pairs of classic and contemporary novels, I’ve found many interesting parallels between Cather’s The Song of the Lark (1915) and Green’s Paper Towns (2008).

Thea and Margo || These protagonists are headstrong, determined, and different from the people in their hometowns. Thea loves music and is seen as a young woman who holds great potential, whereas Margo is an enigma that no one can understand. Despite the man differences between them, they nevertheless share the same reckless, carefree spirit.

Leaving home || Eventually Thea and Margo move away from their childhood homes, leaving behind people who love and care about them in order to chase the prospect of adventure. Thea heads to the big city of Chicago to pursue a career in music, later finding herself traveling to Arizona, Dresden, and New York City. Margo departs suddenly in a shroud of mystery; she doesn’t tell anyone that she’s leaving or where she’s going to. These young women are running to something—adventure, adulthood, independence—but they’re also running from something: their past identities and the preconceived notions held by people they grew up with of who they should become.

Resistance || In both novels, friends from their pasts find Thea and Margo in the new lives they’ve made for themselves and try to persuade them to come back home. Unexpectedly, Thea and Margo refuse. Though Thea does go back and visit her hometown, she does not stay long and feels as though she doesn’t belong there anymore. Margo won’t even entertain the idea of returning to the town where she attended a high school that she technically hasn’t graduated from yet. Their new ideas and identities seem to manifest themselves in new locations.

Wanting “more” || The underlying current that runs beneath The Song of the Lark and Paper Towns is the desire for more out of life. Thea is enchanted by fantasies of big cities, fame, and a life away from her small, dull town; Margo is denounces the “paper people” she grew up around, yearning for those who are less materialistic and actually genuine, authentic, and real. The question remains: Do they really reach their “more”?

What do you think of this classic couple? What other books would you pair with The Song of the LarkWhat are your thoughts on either or both of these books? Let me know in the comments section below!




6 responses to “A Classic Couple: The Song of the Lark and Paper Towns”

  1. oh that sounds amazing! i loved “paper towns” and now i am very much interested in “the song of the lark” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy Song of the Lark! It’s such a brilliant novel 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not read either of these books, but the comparisons you make are nice. I seriously love the concept of this “classic couple” series; it is really great and creative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! I’ve been having so much fun with this feature and I love the discussion that it sparks in the comments ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Holly, come on. I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but out of all the bloggers I follow, you’re the one whose recommendations I’m most likely to pick up. I only just finished Life After Life and I still have How To Ruin Everything from the library and now I need to read the Song of the Lark? This sucks. Jokes aside, I love this pairing. I haven’t read Song of the Lark, obviously, but I think another book where the character is headstrong and wants more is Hunted by Meagan Spooner

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HAHAHA thanks Shanti!!!! I’m so glad my recommendations are helpful!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I've seen Hunted around but I've never actually picked it up. It sounds like something I would enjoy, though! (Also, I can't wait to hear your thoughts on How to Ruin Everything!) 😀


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