"But we will deal with those bastards, Pudge. I promise you. They will regret messing with one of my friends."
And if the Colonel thought that calling me his friend would make me stand by him, well, he was right. (127before.44-45)
Miles is thankful that the Colonel subscribes to the adage The enemy of my enemy is my friend. What does Miles's eagerness to have a friend tell us about his character?
I thought of Florida, of my "school friends," and realized for the first time how much I would miss the Creek if I ever had to leave it. I stared down at Takumi's twig sticking erect out of the mud and said, "I swear to God I won't rat." (67before.22)
After Miles finds out about Alaska ratting, he realizes that loyalty is one of the major components of friendship at the Creek. Think about how that loyalty is tested and whether or not it survives certain relationships.
I didn't know whether to trust Alaska, and I'd certainly had enough of her unpredictability—cold one day, sweet the next; irresistibly flirty one moment, resistibly obnoxious the next. I preferred the Colonel: At least when he was cranky, he had a reason. (58before.6)
Is Miles really friends with Alaska if he doesn't accept her as she is?
Chip "The Colonel" Martin
"Don't you know who you love, Pudge? You love the girl who makes you laugh and shows you porn and drinks wine with you. You don't love the crazy, sullen b****."
And there was something to that, truth be told. (44before.28-29)
Maybe this is what the Colonel means when he tells Miles that Miles loves the image of Alaska he created, and not her whole self. Alaska realizes this about herself, which makes us wonder how much of the mysterious persona she creates is true and how much is contrived.
"Your rote memorization is, like, so impressive," I said.
"You guys are like an old married couple." Alaska smiled. "In a creepy way." (8before.10-11)
In what ways does dialogue reveal the friendship of Miles and the Colonel through the novel, even when they're taking digs at one another?
The five of us walking confidently in a row, I'd never felt cooler. The Great Perhaps was upon us, and we were invincible. The plan may have had faults, but we did not. (3before.27)
Miles thinks he's found his Great Perhaps in his friends and the shared experiences that involve fireworks, mischief, and mayhem. Is he right?
Her funeral Sunday. I wondered if the Colonel would get back by then, where he was. He had to come back for the funeral, because I could not go alone, and going with anyone other than the Colonel would amount to alone. (2after.53)
Even though he would be with the entire student body at Culver Creek, Miles thinks he would be "alone." What does this say about his friendships with Takumi and Lara?
"Well, my gut wants to know," Lara said, and only then did I realize […]—I may have kissed her, but I really didn't have a monopoly on Alaska; the Colonel and I weren't the only ones who cared about her, and weren't alone in trying to figure out how she died and why. (46after.37)
It takes Miles two months to realize that Alaska had other friends who also grieve for her. What does this tell us about his friendship with Takumi and Lara?
But we knew what could be found out, and in finding it out, she had made us closer—the Colonel and Takumi and me, anyway. (118after.2)
There's something about the process of working through grief with friends that bonds them. Try to articulate how this works.
And then I screwed up and the Colonel screwed up and Takumi screwed up and she slipped through our fingers. And there's no sugarcoating it: She deserved better friends. (136after.12)
Miles is thinking about the responsibility that friends have toward one another, to care for one another despite tendencies towards self-destruction. We're left wondering if he'll remember this lesson forever or if he will forget it as he knows he will forget Alaska.