Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

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Looking for Alaska 39. Thirteen Days After Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Miles and the Colonel walk to the Pelham Police Department to talk to the police officer whose car Alaska hit. The Colonel smokes in front of the officer even though he’s underage. The officer tells them that he was in his car and he saw her headed straight for him. He had to get out of his car and run to escape. He turned on the lights and the siren but she kept driving straight. He says he’s never heard of someone being so drunk that they didn’t know to swerve. Miles asks if the officer heard Alaska’s last words, but he tells them she was dead by the time he made it over to her car.
Miles asks the police officer for Alaska’s last words, even though he knows she died instantly. This shows that he has not fully processed her death. The Colonel, on the other hand, smokes in front of the police officer, suggesting that he either no longer cares if he gets in trouble or, more likely, that he is not concerned with trivial matters when trying to understand his friend’s death.
Themes
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Mischief Theme Icon
The Colonel asks the officer if he thinks it was an accident. He says he’s not sure, but he can’t imagine someone not being able to swerve. He tells them that Alaska’s blood alcohol level was .24, which is very high. They ask him if there was anything in her car, and he says he saw a bouquet of white flowers in the backseat.
The white flowers in the backseat are the second clue in the search for a sense of what happened to Alaska that night. The police officer’s statements suggest that there is a very real chance that Alaska intended to die.
Themes
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon
Mischief Theme Icon
The Colonel tells Miles about a time last year when he and Takumi and Alaska were at the Smoking Hole and Alaska jumped into the river to pick up a white flower that was floating down it. She told them then that her parents used to put white flowers in her hair, and the Colonel wonders if maybe she wanted to die with white flowers nearby. Miles suggests that she might have been returning them to Jake.
Miles continues to be self-involved, and only thinks about what the white flowers might signify about his own relationship with Alaska. The fact that Alaska would jump into a river just to get a flower suggests that white flowers are a powerful symbol in her life.
Themes
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon
Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Memory and Memorial Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Miles becomes frustrated and says that whatever they find out, they are no less guilty, and learning that Alaska meant to kill herself just turns her into “a selfish bitch.” The Colonel reminds Miles that she often was a selfish bitch, and he accuses Miles of only remembering the parts of Alaska that he liked. Miles thinks that the Colonel cannot understand what he is feeling, because he doesn’t know what it’s like to have kissed Alaska and to be faced with the meaning of “To be continued.” Miles storms off. Finally, the Colonel catches up to him and tells him he just wants things to go back to normal, and that can’t happen until they know what went wrong.
Miles doesn’t want to think of Alaska as anything other than perfect after her death, but he often ignored her bad character traits when she was alive as well. Over and over, Miles jeopardizes his previously very strong relationship with the Colonel in order to maintain his fantasies about Alaska’s death. The Colonel is much less self-obsessed than Miles is, and he makes an effort to keep their friendship going.
Themes
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon
Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Memory and Memorial Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
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