Study Guide

Looking for Alaska Life, Consciousness, and Existence

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Life, Consciousness, and Existence

Any book that has this much death and suffering usually brings up questions about life and existence too. Both before and after Alaska dies (but mostly after), Miles ponders what has happened to her. Is she in her body? Is she elsewhere? The lectures the Old Man give in World Religions give Miles a sort of blueprint to think about these heady philosophical ideas. Mostly though, conversations with the Colonel and quality time spent thinking guide Miles in some of his musings on how we live, how we die, and what gives our life meaning in Looking for Alaska.

Questions About Life, Consciousness, and Existence

  1. What fear paralyzes Alaska after her mom dies? How does this affect her way of approaching life?
  2. How does Miles's coursework in World Religions change his views about what happens after we die?
  3. What realizations about life and death does Miles make after Alaska's death? Could he have made the same realizations if she hadn't died? Why or why not?
  4. The Colonel asks in an essay why bad things happen to good people. How would he answer that question? How would Miles?
  5. How would Alaska?

Chew on This

Alaska doesn't fear death, but Miles and the Colonel do.

Seeking the Great Perhaps opens Miles up to greater pain and suffering, but also greater friendships and living.

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