Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

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Looking for Alaska 58. One Hundred Twenty-Two Days After Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dr. Hyde holds the last class of the year outside and distributes the final exam to the class. Each person must write about how he or she will get out of Alaska’s labyrinth. He tells them that they don’t need to do any research, and that he would rather them write about their personal understandings of the world. He points out that in the three religions they have studied, the Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammed “each brought a message of radical hope” for those who are lost. He ends the class by asking them, “What is your cause for hope?”
Dr. Hyde uses Alaska’s death as a tool for teaching his students how to apply the knowledge they have acquired in his classroom. He does not take Alaska’s death as a sign that life is pointless, but rather uses it as something to encourage his students to be hopeful. They are not ignorant—they know that life contains suffering, and they have experienced it—but he encourages them to find a reason to keep going despite this.
Themes
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon
Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Memory and Memorial Theme Icon
Miles asks the Colonel how he is going to escape the labyrinth, and the Colonel says that he has no idea. Miles responds that that’s not going to help Alaska much, and the Colonel realizes that he had forgotten about her. The Colonel decides that “straight and fast” may be the only way out of the labyrinth, but as hard as life is, he doesn’t want to leave it.
By forgetting about Alaska, the Colonel is able to be hopeful about his own life. He doesn’t have a plan, and he knows life won’t be easy, but he wants to keep living all the same. He allows himself to forget, and in doing so, enables himself to move on in a way in which Alaska never could.
Themes
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon