Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

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Looking for Alaska 56. One Hundred Eighteen Days After Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After this realization, the group gives up trying to find out anything else. They aren’t certain whether she intended to die, but Miles decides “some mysteries aren’t meant to be solved.” Miles isn’t sure if he should be angry at Alaska for making him an accomplice or angry with himself for letting her leave. Miles realizes that although they didn’t find all the answers, the search made him grow closer with Takumi and the Colonel. Miles credits Alaska with making them better friends, and decides that while he may not have found what he was looking for, he has found a way back to his Great Perhaps.
Miles is excited by the mystery of his future at the beginning of the novel, but at that point he has never really experienced anything mysterious. Having now dealt with the mystery of Alaska’s life and death, he understands that mysteries do not necessarily have solutions. The process of trying to solve the mystery, however, has brought Miles much closer to his friends. He is now excited for his Great Perhaps again, but this time his anticipation comes with the knowledge that it is the search, rather than the result, that is important.
Themes
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon
Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Memory and Memorial Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
The Colonel and Miles decide that the last thing they need to do before they can let go of Alaska is to drive past the place where she died. As they drive, Miles says, “Sometimes I liked it that she was dead.” He says that it felt “pure,” and the Colonel agrees with him. He is surprised that the Colonel, too, harbors such horrible thoughts. Miles and the Colonel drive through the spot and Miles wonders if she decided to die at the last possible moment. He thinks that it would not have been a bad way to die. But he and the Colonel drive through the spot, and they do not die, and they pull over and cry because they are alive.
Miles and the Colonel beat themselves up over Alaska’s death, just like Alaska beat herself up over her mother’s. Unlike Alaska, however, Miles and the Colonel are able to eventually move past their grief and guilt—so much so that they can admit that they sometimes feel something other than sadness over her death. The act of driving through the spot where she died is one of catharsis, and it enables them to let go of some of their emotions.
Themes
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Memory and Memorial Theme Icon