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.
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
10. One Hundred Days Before
18. Fifty-Eight Days Before
22. Forty-Seven Days Before
35. Six Days After