Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska


John Green

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Looking for Alaska: 5. One Hundred Twenty-Two Days Before Summary & Analysis

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 family. He tells Miles that when he asked Alaska for help, she accused him of imposing the “patriarchal paradigm” on her and refused. Miles does not know how to iron, either, and when Sara arrives to pick the Colonel up, the two get in a fight over his wrinkled shirt. The Colonel makes rude comments about her family’s wealth and eventually refuses to go to dinner.
The Colonel has adopted a number of adult behaviors, such as smoking, but his inability to iron reveals that he is still an adolescent. As much as he thinks he has the world figured out, he doesn’t. His struggle with ironing also hints at the poverty in which he was raised, as he likely did not need to iron a shirt until he got to Culver Creek. Alaska shows another important part of her personality here—railing against the patriarchy.
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After Sara leaves, the Colonel starts drinking “ambrosia,” which is a mixture of milk and vodka designed to evade detection by the Eagle. Sara calls on the payphone down the hall and explains to the Colonel that all of the Weekday Warriors are mad at him, because they think he got Marya and Paul expelled. The Colonel, who values loyalty above all else, is stunned that anyone would imagine he would rat on a fellow student. Miles doesn’t understand why the Colonel doesn’t break up with Sara if he hates Weekday Warriors so much, but the Colonel tells Miles that he and Sara deserve each other.
Kevin and Longwell did not duct tape Miles and throw him into the lake for no reason; they did it to punish the Colonel for ratting on their friends. Their decision to play a prank on Miles rather than on the Colonel himself suggests that Culver Creek operates under an eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth system of justice. They tried to eliminate one of the Colonel’s friends because he eliminated some of theirs.
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