Paper Towns

The Construction of Manic Pixie Dream Girls Through the Male Gaze: Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's and John Green's Paper Towns College

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote, was published in 1958. Paper Towns, by John Green, was published in 2008. The authors do not have much in common―except both being white American males: they did not write or publish at the same time; their books belong to two different centuries; and on the next day of John Green’s seventh birthday, Truman Capote died, so they did not share the earth for long either. Nevertheless, and despite the passing of time, both of their books are narrated through the male gaze; they both wrote books that deal with the representation of manic pixie dream girls as perceived by male narrators who idealize them.

Literature and cinema often share and adapt each other’s devices: the concept of manic pixie dream girl (MPDG for further references) was created for cinema and applied to literature afterwards. Nathan Rabin coined the term and defined it as “[a girl who] exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures. [She is] an all-or-nothing proposition” (Rodriguez 2). This definition has been changed and complemented through time. The MPG is often quirky, whimsical, and, most...

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