Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

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Chip Martin (The Colonel) Character Analysis

The Colonel is Miles’ roommate and best friend at Culver Creek, as well as the facilitator of all the pranks he and his friends pull on the school. The Colonel is very poor and lives with his mother, Dolores, in a trailer park. He attends Culver Creek on an academic scholarship. The Colonel loves memorizing facts about other countries and spearheads the search to find out more facts about Alaska’s death. He is an extremely principled person, and he values loyalty and honesty among friends.

Chip Martin (The Colonel) Quotes in Looking for Alaska

The Looking for Alaska quotes below are all either spoken by Chip Martin (The Colonel) or refer to Chip Martin (The Colonel). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Speak edition of Looking for Alaska published in 2008.
2. One Hundred Twenty-Eight Days Before Quotes

“Anyway, when you get in trouble, just don’t tell on anyone. I mean, I hate the rich snots here with a fervent passion I usually reserve only for dental work and my father. But that doesn’t mean I would rat them out. Pretty much the only important thing is never never never never rat.”

Related Characters: Chip Martin (The Colonel) (speaker), Miles Halter
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we learn about the key rule of life in Miles's new prep school: never rat on another student (AKA, the "schoolboy code"). The Colonel tells Miles, who's new at school, to always remain loyal to other students over the administration--even if the breaking this "loyalty" could result in the expulsion of people neither the Colonel nor Miles likes.

Why is it so important not to rat on your classmates at prep school? While Green doesn't answer the question, he implies that the honor code is important because it creates a bond of trust and loyalty between all students, even those who don't like each other. Miles and Colonel will argue and compete with their peers (the "Weekend Warriors"), and yet they'll also feel a bond of brotherhood with their enemies in the face of a larger authority.

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31. The Last Day Quotes

“We left.
We did not say: Don’t drive. You’re drunk.
We did not say: We aren’t letting you in that car when you are upset.
We did not say: We insist on going with you.
We did not say: This can wait until tomorrow. Anything—everything—can wait.

Related Characters: Miles Halter (speaker), Chip Martin (The Colonel), Alaska Young
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:

In one of the central scenes in the novel, Miles and his friend the Colonel watch passively as Alaska, drunk and sad, gets off the phone, crying loudly, and rushes toward her car. Although it's pretty obvious that Alaska is in no condition to drive, Miles and the Colonel allow her to leave. Alaska will eventually die in a car crash (perhaps accidentally, perhaps on purpose), leaving Miles to blame himself for her death. in this passage, Miles lists all the things he did wrong that night: he could have stopped Alaska and prevented her from getting behind the wheel of a car, but instead he just left her alone.

Why does Miles leave Alaska alone? To begin with, he's intimidated by her. Alaska has cultivated an aura of mystery and impregnability: nobody is brave enough to tell her the truth because she's always acting spontaneous. Thus, it's possible for Miles to construe Alaska's behavior that night as "Alaska being Alaska." Moreover, Miles seems to allow Alaska to go off alone because he's just had an odd romantic encounter with her: he feels so overwhelmed and confused (and he's drunk as well) that he doesn't know what he'd say to her, and is almost afraid to confront her and make her angry with him. It's important to notice the major turning point in the novel: the first half of the book is dominated by Alaska's guilt for allowing her mother to die, while the second half of the book is dominated by Miles's guilt at having played a role in Alaska's death.

32. The Day After Quotes

“I could hear the Colonel screaming, and I could feel hands on my back as I hunched forward, but I could only see her lying naked on a metal table, a small trickle of blood falling out of her half-teardrop nose, her green eyes open, staring off into the distance, her mouth turned up just enough to suggest the idea of a smile, and she had felt so warm against me, her mouth so soft and warm on mine.”

Related Characters: Miles Halter (speaker), Chip Martin (The Colonel), Alaska Young
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Miles has learned of Alaska's death. At first, he can't believe that someone who he knew and loved--someone with whom he exchanged a kiss only the night before--could suddenly be dead. And yet eventually, the thought of Alaska's corpse becomes inescapable: he pictures her body in the morgue, the contrast between her warmth and beauty while alive and her appearance in death perfectly clear.

Previously, Miles has suggested that people can't bear to think about their loved ones as mere bodies--a body must have a soul, too. And yet here, in his moment of panic, Miles can only think of Alaska's dead body. The passage conveys a sense of Miles's trauma and guilt: just as Alaska was singularly fixated on her mother's untimely death, Miles is now totally fixated on Alaska's dead body. He blames himself for her death, and so he can't stop thinking about her.

33. Two Days After Quotes

“Goddamn it! God, how did this happen? How could she be so stupid! She just never thought anything through. So goddamned impulsive. Christ. It is not okay. I can’t believe she was so stupid!”

Related Characters: Chip Martin (The Colonel) (speaker), Alaska Young
Page Number: 145
Explanation and Analysis:

In times of crisis, everybody has different ways of coping. Miles chooses to blame himself almost immediately, while the Colonel chooses to throw all the blame back on Alaska herself: he claims that she was stupid and foolish, and that she caused her own death (claims that seem harsh, but are also partly true).

The Colonel copes with death by ignoring his own sense of guilt. Deep down, as we'll see soon, the Colonel knows that he's partly responsible for Alaska's tragic death: if he had just stopped her from getting in the car, she would still be alive. Instead of facing his feelings, the Colonel tries to bury them away with rage and frustration. Although he's usually a fairly calm person, the Colonel's emotions are clear in this passage: he has a lot of emotion to bury.

56. One Hundred Eighteen Days After Quotes

“But we knew what could be found out, and in finding it out, she had made us closer—the Colonel and Takumi and me, anyway. And that was it. She didn’t leave me enough to discover her, but she left me enough to rediscover the Great Perhaps.”

Related Characters: Miles Halter (speaker), Chip Martin (The Colonel), Alaska Young
Page Number: 212
Explanation and Analysis:

Miles learns a lot after Alaska's death, and in a way, Alaska's death brings him closer to his friends, especially the Colonel and Takumi. Although Miles and his friends are trying to answer the question of why Alaska drove off into the night, they come to realize that the question is irrelevant and ultimately impossible to answer thoroughly. As in so many books about mysteries and quests, the journey (Miles bonding with his friends) is more important than the destination (solving the mystery of why Alaska died).

Miles has always had a theory of the "Great Perhaps"--the sense of wonder and unknowability that dominates a young person's life. And yet Miles has changed his theory slightly: previously, he thought that the purpose of the Great Perhaps was to solve mysteries and answer questions about the world. Now, he's come to realize that there are certain mysteries that can't, and shouldn't be, solved: "Perhaps" is better than certainty.

“And POOF we are driving through the moment of her death. We are driving through the place that she could not drive through, passing onto asphalt she never saw, and we are not dead. We are not dead! We are breathing and we are crying and now slowing down and moving back into the right lane.”

Related Characters: Miles Halter (speaker), Chip Martin (The Colonel), Alaska Young
Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:

In this climactic scene, Miles and the Colonel finally get over Alaska's death, at least a little, when they decide to drive over the place where Alaska died. As they drive they begin to cry and get emotional, for the simple reason that they're alive and Alaska is dead--they've passed through the place where she could not.

While they are overcome with grief at Alaska's death, Miles and the Colonel also seem to achieve a sudden clarity regarding the fact that they are alive. This is part of the tragedy of Alaska's death--that she too was once as alive and breathing as they are now--but it's also a way for Miles to move on. By acknowledging his own life he can better seize the present and live fully, without being so weighed down by memory and guilt.

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Chip Martin (The Colonel) Character Timeline in Looking for Alaska

The timeline below shows where the character Chip Martin (The Colonel) appears in Looking for Alaska. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
2. One Hundred Twenty-Eight Days Before
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
The following week, Miles arrives at Culver Creek. He says goodbye to his parents, does some... (full context)
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Chip tells Miles that he is at Culver Creek on an academic scholarship. He wrote his... (full context)
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After Miles helps Chip unpack his things, Chip explains to Miles that there are two types of people at... (full context)
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Chip nicknames Miles “Pudge” because he’s so skinny, and he tells Miles that he should call... (full context)
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After buying cigarettes from Alaska, the Colonel and Miles go down to the lake and Miles smokes for the first time. The... (full context)
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The Colonel leaves and Miles tries to smoke another cigarette. He tells the reader that he... (full context)
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...so much sex to be had. Alaska tells Miles that he is smart like the Colonel, but cuter, and she promises to find Miles a girlfriend if he helps her figure... (full context)
3. One Hundred Twenty-Seven Days Before
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The next morning Miles asks the Colonel about Alaska’s boyfriend. The Colonel says that she must... (full context)
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...her boyfriend Paul, both of whom were expelled for drinking, smoking marijuana, and having sex. The Colonel says that Paul deserved to be kicked out because he was a Weekday Warrior,... (full context)
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...anything else. He wakes up to find two people pulling him out of his bed. The Colonel tells someone named Kevin to go easy on Miles. The two boys take him... (full context)
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The Colonel is confused by why it took Miles so long to come home, and he... (full context)
4. One Hundred Twenty-Six Days Before
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Later that day Miles attends World Religion class. The teacher, whom the students call the Old Man, announces that the class will be dedicated... (full context)
5. One Hundred Twenty-Two Days Before
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A few days later, Miles finds the Colonel in their bedroom, trying—and failing—to iron a shirt for his dinner with Sara and her... (full context)
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After Sara leaves, the Colonel starts drinking “ambrosia,” which is a mixture of milk and vodka designed to evade detection... (full context)
6. One Hundred Ten Days Before
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Alaska is angry at the Colonel and Takumi for not leaving with her and Miles, but when they finally get out... (full context)
7. One Hundred Nine Days Before
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The Colonel convinces Miles to go to the Creek’s first basketball game, despite the fact that... (full context)
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...goth girls to Kevin Richman, is at the basketball game. Kevin offers Miles and the Colonel a truce, but the Colonel and Miles refuse. Finally, the Colonel makes him a deal:... (full context)
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The Colonel leads the Creek crowd in cheers that make fun of the opposing team’s intelligence... (full context)
11. Ninety-Nine Days Before
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Miles, the Colonel, Takumi, and Alaska go down to the lake to smoke. The Eagle happens to be... (full context)
12. Ninety-Eight Days Before
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Miles, the Colonel, Takumi, and Alaska go to see the Jury, which is a group of twelve students... (full context)
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Alaska and the Colonel take the fall for smoking and keep Miles and Takumi out of trouble. Alaska has... (full context)
13. Eighty-Nine Da ys Before
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...the Jury, but then Alaska tells him that she has found him a girlfriend: Lara. The Colonel says that Lara has “great breasts,” a statement that provokes Alaska to yell about... (full context)
14. Eighty-Seven Days Before
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Miles wakes up the next morning and continues to repeat that he is concussed. The Colonel tells Miles that Sara broke up with him because she thought that he had... (full context)
16. Seventy-Six Days Before
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...final paper of the semester: “What is the most important question human beings must answer?” The students are supposed to pick a question and then discuss how Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists... (full context)
17. Sixty-Seven Days Before
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...Marya, and that she might have told the Eagle about the Smoking Hole as well. The Eagle caught Alaska leaving campus with a bottle of wine in her car and he... (full context)
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Takumi tells Miles that the Colonel and Alaska are planning a prank, and Miles will need to be prepared to take... (full context)
22. Forty-Seven Days Before
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The Colonel shows up unexpectedly and invites Miles and Alaska to come back to his house... (full context)
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Alaska helps the Colonel’s mom, Dolores, cook dinner, while Miles and the Colonel play video games. The food is... (full context)
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...Alaska and Miles sleep in the bed, while she sleeps on the couch and the Colonel sleeps outside. Miles counts the three layers of fabric that separate him from Alaska. He... (full context)
23. Forty-Six Days Before
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The next day is Thanksgiving, and Miles thinks that Dolores makes the best Thanksgiving meal he’s... (full context)
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...spend Thanksgiving. Alaska says that this is her best Thanksgiving in the past ten years. The Colonel says he’s grateful for his mom, but she says that’s not enough, so he... (full context)
24. Forty-Four Days Before
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon
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...more going on than just that, but she also tells him that she told the Colonel about ratting on Marya. (full context)
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When the Colonel found out that Alaska was the one who told, he said to her that he... (full context)
26. Eight Days Before
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...the yearly prank on the school has already happened. She decides that she, Miles, the Colonel, Takumi, and Lara, whom Miles hasn’t spoken to since he threw up on her, will... (full context)
27. Four Days Before
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Miles doesn’t have any details about the prank, and the Colonel and Alaska ignore him all week long. Miles uses the time to work on his... (full context)
28. Three Days Before
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Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon
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...packs two-days worth of black clothing for the weekend in the barn and he, the Colonel, Takumi, Alaska, and Lara present the Eagle with a variety of reasons that they need... (full context)
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The Colonel has coordinated the prank down to the second. As they leave the barn, Miles... (full context)
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Miles and Takumi set off a string of fireworks. Their timing and path has been carefully planned by the Colonel, but they make a mistake... (full context)
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...group debriefs. Lara successfully managed to put blue dye into Kevin’s conditioner and hair gel. The Colonel is mad at Alaska because she decided to send progress reports to the parents... (full context)
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The Colonel doesn’t believe Alaska because she ratted on Marya, and he also points out the... (full context)
29. Two Days Before
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...went to the zoo and her mom liked the bears and she liked the monkeys. The Colonel says that this isn’t a good enough story. Miles silently agrees, although he knows... (full context)
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...when he lost his virginity, but he declines to tell that story to the group. The Colonel says that his best day is in the future, when he can buy his... (full context)
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The group decides that the Colonel’s story wins and everyone else drinks. The Colonel’s worst day... (full context)
31. The Last Day
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Kevin shows up at Miles and the Colonel’s room and congratulates them on dying his hair blue. He asks for a truce, but... (full context)
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That night, Alaska and the Colonel get drunk to celebrate the success of their prank. There are white tulips in Alaska’s... (full context)
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When the Colonel drunkenly realizes that Miles hooked up with Alaska, he tells Miles that things are not... (full context)
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The Colonel and Miles don’t understand why Alaska is so upset. She keeps saying that she... (full context)
32. The Day After
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The Eagle wakes Miles and the Colonel up the next morning and tells them to go... (full context)
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The Colonel assumes that the assembly is because Dr. Hyde has died. When they arrive at... (full context)
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The Eagle finally tells everyone that overnight, Alaska died in a car crash. The room falls... (full context)
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon
Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon
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...He knows lots of them, but, he thinks to himself, “I will never know hers.” The Colonel collapses on the frozen ground on their way back to their room and starts... (full context)
33. Two Days After
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The Colonel tells Miles that he spent the night memorizing the capitals of every country in... (full context)
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...dreams about Alaska’s mouth oozing with dead flesh and formaldehyde. When he wakes up, the Colonel still hasn’t come back from his walk. (full context)
34. Four Days After
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The Colonel finally returns. He is freezing and tells Miles that he walked to Montevallo and... (full context)
35. Six Days After
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
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...had an open one. Alaska didn’t want anyone to see her dead. Miles and the Colonel stand by Alaska’s coffin, and Miles thinks that there are “too many layers” separating them... (full context)
36. Seven Days After
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The Colonel tells Miles that he has just had lunch with the Eagle, who asked him... (full context)
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Miles takes Alaska’s condoms and the Colonel looks for her alcohol stash. Miles is happy to realize that Alaska never told the... (full context)
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Miles shows the note to the Colonel, who realizes that Alaska died “straight and fast.” She ran straight into a police car... (full context)
37. Eight Days After
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...of people who didn’t know Alaska well speak about their grief, while Miles and the Colonel remain silent. (full context)
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The Colonel hates the way the other students pretend like they were close to Alaska, but... (full context)
38. Nine Days After
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The Colonel theorizes that maybe Alaska got a call from Jake and realized that she needed... (full context)
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The Colonel responds that he wants to know because Alaska made him “her accomplice,” and he’s... (full context)
39. Thirteen Days After
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Miles and the Colonel walk to the Pelham Police Department to talk to the police officer whose car Alaska... (full context)
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The Colonel asks the officer if he thinks it was an accident. He says he’s not... (full context)
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The Colonel tells Miles about a time last year when he and Takumi and Alaska were... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
40. Fourteen Days After
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The Colonel and Miles research the signs of suicide, most of which Alaska never exhibited. She... (full context)
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...that she is still refusing to answer his questions and still insisting on being mysterious. The Colonel tells him that there have to be answers and that they can figure them... (full context)
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...trying to communicate in Morse code. Unfortunately, Holly tells them, she doesn’t understand Morse code. The Colonel calls Holly a “stupid bitch” once she leaves. Miles points out that Alaska wouldn’t... (full context)
41. Twenty Days After
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The Colonel brings up calling Jake again, and Miles still refuses to participate in the call.... (full context)
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...at the top of his lungs about everything that has happened. He’s mad at the Colonel for being condescending, and also mad that the Colonel is right. Miles knows that he... (full context)
43. Twenty-Seven Days After
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Four weeks after Alaska’s death, the Colonel decides that that he and Miles should steal the Eagle’s Breathalyzer and try to replicate... (full context)
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Miles knocks on the Eagle’s door to distract him so that the Colonel can run in and steal the Breathalyzer. Miles talks to the Eagle about how the... (full context)
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The Colonel spends the night trying to reach a .24 blood alcohol level so that he... (full context)
44. Twenty-Eight Days After
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Miles and the Colonel tell Takumi about how they helped Alaska leave, and he says they were stupid but... (full context)
45. Twenty-Nine Days After
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While the Colonel calls Jake, Takumi accuses Miles of hoping to find out that Alaska was on her... (full context)
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The Colonel comes back and tells them that Jake called Alaska late that night because she... (full context)
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Miles and the Colonel try to remember the conversation they had with Alaska on her last night, but the... (full context)
47. Forty-Five Days After
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People have stopped giving Miles and the Colonel cigarettes out of sympathy, so Takumi drives them to Coosa Liquors to buy some more.... (full context)
48. Forty-Six Days After
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...as he can about what happened on Alaska’s last night and what he and the Colonel have learned since. He explains to her that ever since Alaska died, it’s felt like... (full context)
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That evening, Lara, Takumi, the Colonel, and Miles each throw a cigarette into the Smoking Hole, which is actually more like... (full context)
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The group works on making a list of the evidence for and against Alaska’s suicide. They... (full context)
50. Sixty-Two Days After
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...of the daisies that Alaska always used to draw. He remembers that Jake told the Colonel that Alaska freaked out while she was doodling on the phone. Miles hangs up and... (full context)
51. Sixty-Nine Days After
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The school calls an assembly, where the Eagle announces that they are going to build a... (full context)
52. Eighty-Three Days After
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The Colonel spends spring break coordinating the prank, and the group convenes once everyone is back... (full context)
53. Eighty-Four Days After
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The Colonel is forced to enlist the help of the Weekday Warriors, who love the prank... (full context)
54. One Hundred Two Days After
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When Maxx arrives that afternoon, the Colonel gives him the speech he has written him and pays his fee upfront. Miles accompanies... (full context)
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...was responsible for the prank, and Miles tells everyone that it wasn’t him or the Colonel or Takumi, but Alaska. Alaska once told Miles that the worst part of pulling a... (full context)
55. One Hundred Fourteen Days After
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...mom—was January 9, which means that January 10 was also the day Alaska’s mother died. They tell this to the Colonel. The three of them decide that doodling daisies must have... (full context)
56. One Hundred Eighteen Days After
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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... (full context)
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The Colonel and Miles decide that the last thing they need to do before they can... (full context)
57. One Hundred Nineteen Days After
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The group spends the next few days cramming for exams, and all of them miss Alaska... (full context)
58. One Hundred Twenty-Two Days After
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Miles asks the Colonel how he is going to escape the labyrinth, and the Colonel says that he has... (full context)
59. One Hundred Thirty-Six Days After
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...to Culver Creek, he avoided the labyrinth by pretending it didn’t exist. He and the Colonel messed up with Alaska just like Alaska messed up with her mom, but while Alaska... (full context)