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 Important Quotes

1. “I’d never been born again with the baptism and weeping and all that, but it couldn’t feel much better than being born again as a guy with no known past. I thought of the people I’d read about—John F. Kennedy, James Joyce, Humphrey Bogart—who went to boarding school, and their adventures—Kennedy, for example, loved pranks. I thought of the Great Perhaps and the things that might happen and the people I might meet and who my roommate might be.” (Chapter 2, p. 8)

This quote summarizes Miles’s reasons for leaving home for Culver Creek: he wants to start again. Furthermore, his references to famous people like J. F. Kennedy and James Joyce suggest his desire for adventure and success—neither of which seems possible in Florida.

2. “Her mouth close enough to me that I could feel her breath warmer than the air, she said, ‘That’s the mystery, isn’t it? Is the labyrinth living or dying? Which is he trying to escape—the world or the end of it?’ I waited for her to keep talking, but after a while it became obvious she wanted an answer.

‘Uh, I don’t know,’ I said finally.” (Chapter 2, p. 19)

This is the first time that Alaska refers to labyrinth, which becomes a pivotal motif in the novel. She has taken an interest in this concept after reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s The General in his Labyrinth and its depiction of the last days of the military leader Simon Bolivar. In particular, she has become preoccupied with Bolivar’s last words: “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!” This question has prompted her to wonder whether the labyrinth symbolizes life or death, but she has not yet reached a conclusion. The labyrinth is therefore steeped in mystery—much like Alaska herself.

3. “The Colonel ran ahead of me, gleeful at his ejection, and I jogged after him, trailing in his wake. I wanted to be one of those people who have streaks to maintain, who scorch the ground with their intensity. But for now, at least I knew such people, and they needed me, just like…

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