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Looking for Alaska Chapters 41-45 Summary & Analysis
Chapter 41 Summary
The Colonel is adamant that he is going to call Jake and write down everything he says, and that Miles is going to help him figure out what happened on the night of Alaska’s death. Miles becomes angry, saying that he is sick of following the Colonel’s orders and does not want to know any further details about Alaska’s relationship with Jake. At this, the Colonel argues that Miles does not care about Alaska but only the fantasy that she was going to leave Jake when, in reality, she would still be with Jake were she alive.
Miles swears at the Colonel but retains his calm until he is alone at the Smoking Hole. Here, he starts screaming and lashing out in anger. He is angry at the Colonel for being so condescending, but he also knows that he is right: Miles had been imagining embarking on a love affair with Alaska. Now, he does not know whether she loved him or whether she just kissed him in one of her impulsive moments. He consequently hates her and himself; not only for letting her leave but for failing to provide a reason for her to stay with him that night.
Miles wonders whether there will come a time when his memory of Alaska will dissipate. He knows that more people will die during his lifetime, and he wonders if there will be space in his memory for each of them. As the moment, though, he feels that Alaska made him different and taught him everything about life. She embodied the Great Perhaps and her death has left him “Perhapsless, stuck in goddamn labyrinth” (172).
Miles decides that he does need to learn the whys and hows of what happened on the night of Alaska’s death, and he returns to the dorm room and offers his apologies. The Colonel, meanwhile, says that he has made a tactical decision to put off calling Jake for the time being and pursue other avenues.
Chapter 42 Summary
In class, Dr. Hyde cites Karl Marx’s statement that religion is ‘the opiate of the masses,’ but…