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"Looking for Alaska" by John Green - analysis of characters and themes

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Introduction

Your name Book report Deshan Thaver Grade 11 JH, 10/10/2012 Author: John Green lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. Until recently he lived in New York, but grew up in Florida before moving to boarding school in Alabama. Prior to becoming a writer he worked as a book reviewer and a writer for the radio. Looking for Alaska is his ï¬rst novel published in 2005. His most recent novel, due in 2008, is Paper Towns. John believes to be a writer you should be a reader too. He is religious and considered being a minister, he worked in a children’s hospital as a Chaplin, which is where he “started to think about writing a story in which teenagers experience loss and a consuming guilt that cannot be easily assuaged.” Main characters Miles “Pudge” Halter: Main character, narrator, sixteen years old. Miles is a bit bland and bored. Lonely and with no real life he leaves for his father’s boarding school in an attempt to escape and pursue and ï¬nd “the Great Perhaps”. ...read more.

Middle

Not long after, Alaska drives off sobbing without explaining why. Fifteen minutes later, she smashes into a parked police cruiser, killing herself instantly. Miles and his friends are crushed, especially Miles, who aided her in leaving campus and did not mention that she should not be driving drunk. Miles and his friends set out to understand the circumstances of Alaska's death. Was it a suicide? Where was she headed? Analysis: There are several themes in the novel Looking for Alaska. One theme is that there is more to life and more to any person than can be experienced or known. Pudge reads biographies and memorizes people?s last words to try to understand what kind of people they were. He looks for meaning in the facts and the words that are recorded after a person dies. Alaska fascinates Pudge because he does not ?get? her, he cannot figure her out, but Alaska says, ?You never get me. That?s the whole point?. Alaska knows that people are complex beyond anyone?s ability to understand. ...read more.

Conclusion

The countdown to Alaska?s death provides suspense and provokes curiosity, as the reader wonders where the story is heading. Looking for Alaska includes elements of comedy, romance and tragedy, but the story cannot be completely encapsulated by any one of these terms. The powerful realism and poignancy of the novel stems from its mingling of comedy, irony, romance and tragedy, just as these elements are found in real life. More than anything, Green?s novel is a coming-of-age story. Alaska is unable to leave the tragedy of her mother?s death behind her, and so she is unable to come of age and move on with her life. Instead she smokes, drinks, and drives too fast until she self-destructs. The paper Pudge writes at the novel?s end indicates that Pudge is able to come to terms with Alaska?s death. His ability to rise above the tragedy and find hope demonstrates his coming-of-age. Readers are drawn in by Pudge?s emotions and reflections. The way information is withheld, such as the nature of the Barn Night prank, entices the reader to keep turning the pages. ...read more.

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