Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

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Measures of Distance Symbol Analysis

Measures of Distance Symbol Icon
Distance plays an important role in Looking for Alaska—so much so that it becomes a part of certain characters’ identities. The Colonel connects Miles’ name to “miles” travelled, and in this way his name comes to refer to how far he feels from Alaska when she dies, and how much distance he would have to cross to know her better. While Miles wants to get closer to Alaska—he is always counting the layers that separate them from each other—Alaska seeks distance. She chose her name when she was young because Alaska was as far away from Alabama as possible, and she consciously avoids letting people get to know her too well. And yet, despite the fact that Miles is the one who wants closeness while Alaska wants space, it is Alaska who is ultimately unable to distance herself from her past. Miles, on the other hand, comes to see himself more clearly only when he leaves his home and gains new perspective on his life.
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Measures of Distance Symbol Timeline in Looking for Alaska

The timeline below shows where the symbol Measures of Distance 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 unpacking, and then... (full context)
10. One Hundred Days Before
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Miles asks Alaska about her name. She explains that when she was born, her parents couldn’t... (full context)
18. Fifty-Eight Days Before
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon
Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon
A week later, Alaska herself tells Miles that she ratted out Marya. Miles is very attracted to Alaska, but... (full context)
22. Forty-Seven Days Before
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon
Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Dolores insists that Alaska and Miles sleep in the bed, while she sleeps on the couch and the Colonel... (full context)
35. Six Days After
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Loyalty and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Memory and Memorial Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
At the funeral Alaska’s casket is closed, and Miles realizes that he will never see her again. When he... (full context)