Looking For Alaska, An Original Essay
I connect on a pretty deep level with Alaska Young. Her life was completely changed by a shockingly unfortunate event early on in her life. Her entire life is solely focused on finding the truth about the labyrinth of suffering she is stuck in and how to escape it. Alaska Young is a deeply unhappy person. She drinks herself to sleep almost every night and pushes away the people who truly care for her. She always lives in the present day, never the future, and dwells on the past events that make her so deeply unhappy. Alaska is also an avid lover of books. In her dorm room at Culver Creek Boarding School, she has her “life’s library”, where she stores hundreds of books she wants to read before she dies. She comes to Culver Creek to get away from home, because it is full of ghosts from the past. Alaska is a depressed, self-destructive girl, which eventually leads to her “straight and fast” death.
Miles “Pudge” Halter is infatuated with Alaska Young. He loves every part of her, from her curves to her emotional scars. Pudge and Alaska live to find out what being alive feels like; when Pudge has his many adventures with Alaska, he discovers what being alive is like. He had waited for this moment his entire life, only to have his best friend, and the one he truly loves with all of his crooked heart, die in a horrific car accident. Pudge also attends Culver Creek in Alabama, and remembers the last words famous people have spoken before they die. Pudge goes to Culver Creek to find his Great Perhaps, just like how Francois Rabelais found his. ‘Pudge said, “Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps”’ (Green 5). He wanted to truly know Alaska Young and all she had to offer to this horribly cruel but beautiful world.
Pudge experienced loss of innocence in meeting Alaska. He was forced into a series of events that made him deeply feel everything that was handed to him. The novel raises questions about love, loyalty, loss of innocence, and the sense of belonging that all of the characters so desperately wanted. While reading this novel, I was experiencing Miles’ feelings and emotions surrounding Alaska’s death. He struggles to regain balance in his life when Alaska dies in a car accident. He is forced to completely re-evaluate his life and his belonging in this world, and then realizes that his Great Perhaps is to find out the who, what, when, where, and why that Alaska kept hidden in her life.
Since reading “Looking for Alaska”, I myself have tried to figure out what the “Great Perhaps” actually is. My Great Perhaps is loving myself and being who I truly am. It may take months, even years for me to achieve my Great Perhaps, but I’m willing to devote myself to making myself a better person each and every day. From the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed, I will stay true to myself and do the best that I can on everything that is handed to me. No matter how hard, no matter how impossible it feels, I will accomplish what I set out to do. And the labyrinth? The way out of this horrible labyrinth of suffering I have been stuck in, is to forgive the people around me who have hurt me so very much and made me a deeply unhappy person, just like Alaska Young. The way out of this labyrinth is to forgive and move on, whether you leave behind the people you thought were true, and whether you leave behind the person you thought you were. No matter how much hurt you have received, somewhere you will find your happiness, and no matter how errant you believe you are, you will always belong.
(Written April 2, 2016)
"Our shoes are tattered and torn, but our feet are dry. As for our places in history, we will run naked through your streets before we sit decorated in your halls."