Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska 19. Fifty-Two Days Before Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Everyone leaves for the break. Alaska takes Miles down to a spot in the forest and tells him to start digging. He uncovers a bottle of Strawberry Hill wine, which she has buried there for safekeeping. Alaska says she has a bad fake ID, so every time it works, she buys enough alcohol for a semester. Miles has a sip, which he does not really like, and thinks to himself about the improbability of the fact that he has ended up being someone who drinks on campus.
By this point in the novel, Miles’ identity has definitely been changed. He is no longer the shy, lonely boy he was in Florida, or the new student trying to fit in at Culver Creek. Instead, he is willing to take risks and break school rules. Miles doesn’t love the taste of alcohol, but the fact that he is drinking it is exhilarating, like a taste of his “Great Perhaps.”
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Mischief Theme Icon
Alaska and Miles lie in the grass reading, and Miles considers telling Alaska that he loves her. Just as he is about to say it, she says that she’s realized that the labyrinth isn’t life or death, but suffering, which she defines as “[d]oing wrong, and having wrong things happen to you.” Alaska says that there is always suffering—it’s something that every religion thinks about.
Alaska’s labyrinth is a more nuanced version of the Colonel’s question of why bad things happen to good people. Alaska doesn’t just define suffering as the result of having something bad happen to you, but also as the result of doing something bad one’s self.
Themes
How to Live and Die Theme Icon
Mystery and the Unknown Theme Icon