What is the crisis and climax in Looking for Alaska?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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John Greene's young adult novel, Looking for Alaska details the existential search for identity and meaning. Throughout the narrative, there is a crisis of personality with main characters such as Miles Halter, who seeks meaning in the last words of famous persons and the enigmatic Alaska Young, deeply troubled by her guilt over her mother's death, who also quotes famous last lines, especially attracted to those of General Símon Bolívar’s words, “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!

The climax of this novel comes, of course, with the mysterious death of Alaska Young, who dies after leaving Miles and Colonel in a drunken state. However, because she has driven straight into a police car, suggesting that she may have committed suicide, especially given the fact that the night was also the anniversary of her mother's death, the boys are left wondering if her death was, in fact, due to intoxication, or Alaska's attempt to find a way out of "the labyrinth." In the end, Miles finds himself returning to Francois Rabelais’s dying reflection of the "Great Perhaps" as he searches for the meaning of Alaska's death.

....I would never know her well enough to know her thoughts in those last minutes, would never know if she left us on purpose. But the not-knowing would not keep me from caring, and I would always love Alaska Young, my crooked neighbor, with all my crooked heart.” 

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