Cognitive Maturity


Cognitive maturity is an awareness that there may be multiple potential perspectives on any given situation, problem, proposal or issue. A person who has strong cognitive maturity works incredibly hard to take this into consideration when making important decisions.
One literary work that has greatly contributed to my cognitive maturity is Paper Towns by John Green. In this novel, one of the main characters, Quentin Jacobsen, spends his entire life idolizing the other main character, Margo Spiegelman, almost to the point of obsession. Quentin views Margo as the quintessential perfect girl, and I don’t think it’s wrong to say that he’s in love with this idea of her. He puts Margo on a pedestal and paints her into this marvelously funny, smart, and creative person. While Quentin is indulging himself in fantasies, the other characters view Margo as someone who’s mysterious but adventurous, and is able to bend and break rules whenever she’s bored. Margo views herself as a “paper girl,” or a person who is content being the person others imagine her being rather than discovering who she is.
During the climax of this novel, Margo runs away and leaves clues for Quentin to find. These clues are supposed to prove to Quentin that Margo is alright and safe, but Quentin is too engrossed in his idea of Margo and ends up believing that Margo left a trail of clues to help lead him to her location. After weeks of searching for Margo, Quentin and his closest friends skip their graduation to take a long road trip to where Margo is currently staying. Since Margo had run away in order to escape the “paper town” of Orlando, Florida, she is initially very upset about her friend randomly showing up. After some explanation, Quentin is able to understand his mistake in the way he had viewed Margo up until that point.
This literary work contributed to my cognitive maturity by showing me all of the different ways people viewed Margo, and by showing to me who she really is: a simple girl running from a broken home in search of herself. Thus showing me all of the ways a person can be misinterpreted. I think a good quote from this novel that not only helps summarize the theme of this novel but also aids in my cognitive maturity would be “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”