Death and Distress in Looking for Alaska by John Green
“She smiled with all the delight of a kid on Christmas morning and said, ‘Y’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die’ pg.44. Miles “Pudge” memorizes the last words of famous people’s deaths, he values the moments of death more than the individuals themselves, just like how Alaska smokes to die instead of smoking to spend time with her friends. In looking for Alaska John Green shows how hard death and distress can be, death can be a sad terrible thing that no one should have to go through, it can do so much to a person’s mental state, it can put someone in such a deep depression that their body shuts down because their will to die is so intense, this normally happens with old married couples because of how much they’ve been through together.
Death is a hard thing for everyone, whether it’s the loss of a friend or family member. “They couldn’t bear the idea of death being a big black nothing, couldn’t bear the thought of their loved ones not existing, and couldn’t even imagine themselves not existing. I finally decided that people believed in an afterlife because they couldn’t bear not to.” pg.100. In this quote, it shows you Mile’s mindset of death. “What happens to us after we die?” pg.70. This shows you how obsessed with death and the thought of dying Miles is. It shows how people can’t stop thinking about death and what happens to them after they die. This also shows how responsible Miles will be with Alaska’s death scene he’s always thinking of it.
“Labyrinth” – John Green keeps referring to the labyrinth and connecting it to the suffering of the world “After all this time, it still seems to me like straight and fast is the only way out- but I choose the labyrinth. The labyrinth blows, but I choose it.” pg.216. The simile compares the labyrinth to life. The labyrinth and life are similar because they both have a bunch of twists and turns. This states how humans have to create something like the “afterlife” just so they can cope with death and all the pain that comes with it. “I still think that maybe the ‘afterlife’ is just something we made up to ease the pain of loss, to make our time in the labyrinth bearable.” pg.220. This compares pain and loss to the afterlife. It’s a good comparison because death comes with pain and loss and people have made up an afterlife to help them go through the pain. The labyrinth is used by John Green to show the readers how life can be a mix of things and even though it may suck sometimes its still worth all of the ups, downs, twists, and turns.
Looking for Alaska John Green shows how hard death and distress can be. He made the reader feel suspense, humor, and sorrow throughout the book. The way he uses similes to compares death to a “big black nothing” so the can feel the sadness and suffering. The similes he used allowed the reader to plainly understand how the labyrinth is related to suffering. The sadness and hurt would have not been portrayed if it wasn’t for John’s vital writing techniques. This doesn’t only add to the story’s emotional appeal it also helps the story stand out.
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