Week One Passages

Good Evening! Week one has come to a close, and it is my job as "Passage Person" to find meaningful, difficult, or interesting quotes and talk about them here. What better place to start than with one of the most commonly recurring themes-- the Great Perhaps.

"Hold on," I said. I went into Dad's study and found his biography of Frangois Rabelais. I liked reading biographies of writers, even if (as was the case with Monsieur Rabelais) I'd never read any of their actual writing.
I flipped to the back and found the highlighted quote ("NEVER USE A HIGHLIGHTER IN MY BOOKS," my dad had told me a thousand times. But how else are you supposed to find what you're looking for?).
 "So this guy," I said, standing in the doorway of the living room.
"Francois Rabelais. He was this poet. And his last words were 'I go to seek a Great Perhaps.' That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps."
Miles' obsession with last words has consequently made him fascinated with death. Later in the chapter, Chip's roommate comments on a poet's last words that Miles recites-- "That's morbid. I like it." Death becomes a common theme within the book -- mostly within discussions between the characters.

"No drugs. No drinking. No cigarettes." As an alumnus of Culver Creek, he had done the things I had only heard about: the secret parties, streaking through hay fields (he always whined about how it was all boys back then), drugs, drinking, and cigarettes. It had taken him a while to kick smoking, but his badass days were now well behind him.

Someone who's familiar with the book would know the significance of cigarettes and the symbolism it represents in Looking for Alaska. Later in the chapter, they come up again (being sold/smoked by Alaska and Colonel), describing the very thing Miles' father told him not to get involved with. Ironically, it accounts for almost all of his character development.

Alaska is heavily involved in both of these themes --smoking and death-- and references both of them in one of the book's most famous and well-known quotes; "Y'all smoke to enjoy it, but I smoke to die." 

Until next time,


Kathy Z said...

I agree that both of these passages are extremely important to the overarching themes of the novel. As we read more, these will tie in to what we're reading. There are a couple more passages from this section that are also somewhat vital, but I agree that these are pivotal points, in that they both display Pudge's aversion to the rules despite being a "good kid" and that the first gives the major theme of the book: the "Great Perhaps". Good choices. :)

Scott Dietzler said...

Before, I never really associated Pudge with death, but now that I think about it, aside from his knowledge of last words, especially later in the book we can find many occasions in which he (directly or indirectly) talks about death. Nice one!

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