Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
By 19bridab, Updated
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"Earl and I actually didn't have much in common with each other, either, but we were the only ten-year-olds in Pittsburgh who liked Aguirre, the Wrath of God, and that counted for something. It actually counted for a lot."
In high school, Greg tries to avoid becoming part of any one friend group. The exception is his friend Earl, of whom he makes films with. The tape between Greg and Earl is Aguirre, the Wrath of God, symbolizing the movie that strengthened their friendship and began their love of filmmaking.
Greg's mom shares the sad news with him that his old friend Rachel was diagnosed with cancer. She encourages him to hang out with her and try to make her happy.
Greg begins hanging out with Rachel. They begin to grow closer and hang out frequently, making jokes and watching movies.
"I mean, you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn't really hit you, and then when it does, that's when you feel like sh*t."
Greg and Earl decide to make a film for Rachel to cheer her up during her chemotherapy. The theme learned here by Greg is that he needs to be caring, even if it upsets him. In this case, he was clearly upset that Rachel would pass away eventually, but he still helped to try to cheer her up in her final moments.
Rachel decides chemotherapy isn't working for her so she quits it. The loss of Rachel's big frizzy hair symbolizes to Greg that her health and liveliness are deteriorating. Rachel passes away shortly after.
After Rachel passes away from cancer, Greg and Earl are devastated and left to think about the deeper meanings of life. A theme Greg learns here is that it's not worth it to be insecure because life is short and you need to enjoy what you have while you're still around.
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