The teenagers at Culver Creek drink. A lot. But the drinking doesn't just happen for fun, and in its most innocent use, alcohol in Looking for Alaska is tied to breaking the rules and getting away with it. For Miles drinking is a way into social acceptance, for the Colonel alcohol is a way to celebrate and mourn… but for Alaska alcohol is a way to cope with and deaden the pain and guilt that she feels about her mother's death. Whether the characters realize it or not, they use alcohol for particular purposes that stem from their desires, and so the power of alcohol in the book changes depending on who consumes it.
Questions About Alcohol
How does alcohol use complicate Alaska's character and her death?
How does Alaska's death change how her friends feel about and use alcohol? Do you think they will be consistent in this change? Why or why not?
Are the experiences of the characters at Culver Creek reflective of other high school experiences, or do you think alcohol use was exaggerated in the book? Why might John Green have chosen to portray alcohol and drinking in the way he does?
Chew on This
Alcohol changes the decisions that Miles, the Colonel, Takumi, and Lara made throughout the novel.
If Alaska hadn't been drinking, she never would have died.