John Green

Looking for Alaska

  • 81-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 58 chapter summaries and 6 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a literary scholar with a PhD in English and a Master's degree in Philosophy
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Looking for Alaska Chapters 36-40 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 36 Summary

Seven days after Alaska’s death, the Colonel is still angry but Miles sees this anger as pointless; all it does is provide distraction from the sadness and guilt. It does not fix anything.

The Colonel returns from the cafeteria later that day and says that the Eagle asked him if he set off the firecrackers but he had not ratted. He and Miles then clean out Alaska’s room, which Miles finds unbearable. He catches Alaska’s scent and glances at all the books that she will never read. Locating The General in His Labyrinth, he looks at the page where Bolivar asks how he will get out of the labyrinth, and he sees that Alaska has written a note in the margin: “Straight & Fast.”

The Colonel assumes that this is her answer to Bolivar’s question, and Miles asks how exactly Alaska died. The Colonel replies that she ran straight into a police car, and Miles can imagine her aiming for the car and not caring about anyone else. However, he also remembers her saying, “To be continued.” The Colonel also wonders why she would drive six miles from campus to kill herself, but he finds “Straight & Fast” an odd premonition nonetheless. He adds that they still do not know what really happened or who called Alaska earlier that night.

The Colonel carries on trying to figure out what happened that night, but Miles is preoccupied with guilt. No matter what the Colonel deduces, they are both responsible for letting Alaska go.

Chapter 37 Summary

Classes resume on Tuesday, and the mood is somber. Dr. Hyde refers back to the topic that the students were set for their final exam and cites Alaska’s question: “How will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering?” He says that he will leave this written on the blackboard for the rest of the semester so that students can ponder the question and remember Alaska.

When other students profess to be devastated by Alaska’s death, Miles is annoyed at first, because these people did not really know her. However, he then realizes that he did not…

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