Study Guide

Looking for Alaska Chapter 29

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Chapter 29

two days before

  • Morning arrives, and the Colonel, Alaska, Takumi, Miles, and Lara spend the day hiding in the barn.
  • A freestyle rap contest takes place.
  • After an extravagant dinner that night of saltines and cheese, the wine is passed around again as the friends play Best Day/Worst Day. Everyone shares first their best day and then their worst day.
  • Best day: Miles tells the story of the day as it's happening. Alaska tells the story of going to the zoo with her mom. Lara says that the day she came to the United States was the best day. Takumi's best day was the day he first had sex. The Colonel says that the best day of his life hasn't happened yet—it will be when he buys his mom a huge house because it's hard for her to have him away at school.
  • The Colonel wins, so he doesn't have to drink.
  • Next, the worst day. For the Colonel, it was when his dad left him and his mom.
  • Miles tells the story about when Tommy Hewitt urinated on his gym clothes in seventh grade and the gym teacher said that he had to wear them or fail the class (2before.55).
  • Lara's worst day is the same as her best, because even though she's happy she and her family immigrated to the United States, she had to leave everything behind in Romania.
  • Takumi's worst day was when he was going to see his grandmother in Japan, but she unexpectedly died in a car accident, so instead of seeing her for vacation, he went to her funeral.
  • Alaska's worst day: the day after her mom took her to the zoo, she found her mom fallen over at the kitchen table after school. Alaska started screaming and crying and didn't call 9-1-1, just sat there with her mom; and her dad came home an hour later and asked why she didn't call 9-1-1, but it was too late—her mom was dead of an aneurysm.
  • Alaska thinks her dad blames her, and it appears as if Alaska blames herself.
  • Silence. Everyone else is shocked. Alaska kept this secret from the Colonel and Takumi for years.
  • Miles now knows that the death of Alaska's mom "was the central moment of Alaska's life" (2before.77).
  • In an internal monologue, Miles recognizes that Alaska is scared of her inaction and of her paralysis by fear and that perhaps this is why she ratted out Marya. He recalls that President McKinley's last words were "we are all going" (2before.79), and that perhaps this relates to Alaska's labyrinth of suffering.
  • When they fall asleep that night, Miles puts his awkward moves on Lara, which she gleefully and quietly accepts.

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