Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska 16. Seventy-Six Days Before Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dr. Hyde announces the topic for the 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 would answer it. Miles decides his question will be about what happens when we die. The Colonel plans to write about why bad things happen to good people. They run into Alaska on their way back to their dorms, who is furious because the Weekday Warriors have flooded her room and destroyed her books. The Colonel admires the prank, but vows to Alaska that he will help her get back at them.
In striving for universality, Miles and the Colonel end up picking topics for Dr. Hyde’s essay that are actually deeply personal. Miles asks what happens when we die, which makes sense given his fondness for last words and thinking about what could happen in the future. The Colonel, on the other hand, chooses a question that stems directly from his experience living with an abusive father and his firm belief that his mother is a good person.
Themes
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Mischief Theme Icon