Study Guide

Looking for Alaska Lies and Deceit

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Lies and Deceit

No pants on fire, but plenty of liars at the Creek in Looking for Alaska. Lying and deviousness abound at Culver Creek when it comes to pranking and breaking rules, but the most meaningful lies lie (pun intended) between friends. That's where the hurt comes in: Alaska lies by omission when she fails to tell her friends about her mother's death; Miles and the Colonel lie about their roles in Alaska's death to others; and all of them lie to themselves—Alaska about what makes her tick, Miles about what he meant to Alaska. It's only when the friends tell the truth that they begin to heal.

Questions About Lies and Deceit

  1. How does Miles's view of lying and deceit change throughout the course of the book?
  2. Do you think the adult authorities in the book—the Eagle, the Old Man, Miles's parents—realize the extent of deception by the students at Culver Creek? Why?
  3. Some lies are more permissible than others in the book. Which ones, and why?

Chew on This

Lying about her mom contributes to Alaska's self-destruction.

Deceit is natural and normal in the social order at Culver Creek.

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