In John Green’s Looking For Alaska, Alaska Young talks about a labyrinth, and ponders how to get out of it.
One of Pudge’s teachers tells them to write about Alaska’s great question: How will you get out of this great labyrinth of suffering?
I actually loved the thought of answering this, since it is challenging. Life is a labyrinth, and John Green had an amazing way of stating that in his book.
How do you get out of this great labyrinth of suffering? Suicide? Fatal accidents? Is there even a way out? We will never know, but we like to think we do. Alaska Young had a tragic death, and you never discover whether or not it was suicide, or where she was going. She had her favourite white flowers with her in the back, almost as if this was a funeral to herself. It was January 9th (really it was three hours into January 10th) when Alaska had died. And when she was eight years old, on January 9th, her mother had taken her to the zoo. Her mom loved the giraffes, and Alaska loved the monkeys. On January 10th, the day after the zoo, her mom had an aneurysm and died. Alaska was paralyzed at that time, watching her mom twitch. She couldn’t have called 911. But she felt as though she could have. She blamed herself for her mother’s death, when in reality, it wasn’t her fault. She continues to blame herself over the years, and on the anniversary of her mom’s death, she brings the white flowers to her mom’s grave. But the weird thing about Alaska’s death: Her, and the Colonel were drunk. Alaska was dangerously drunk. Pudge was in the room when they were playing truth or dare, and was invited to join the game. He took the offer. Alaska said: “Pudge, truth or dare?”
“I dare you to come hook up with me.”
Let me spare you a few details, Alaska has a boyfriend who she claims she loves. Pudge does not actually hook up with her, they just make out (best way to put it, honestly.). Alaska tells Pudge this: “This is so fun, but I’m so sleepy. To be continued?”
And that’s it. She is sleeping. But at two thirty in the morning, her boyfriend, Jake calls her and asks how the anniversary was. Alaska freaks out and goes to Pudge and the Colonel’s room and is crying hysterically. Then she goes to her car and starts it. She drives off, and Pudge and the Colonel think nothing of it.
The next day the whole school was called into the gym for an assembly. Alaska had died in a terrible car accident. There was a semi-truck that had jackknifed and there was a police car there. Alaska had drove straight into the police car without hesitation, she didn’t even hit the breaks.
So this brings us back to the original question: How will you get out of this labyrinth of suffering? Is there even an answer to this? I am determined to find out myself. Someday, there will be an answer to this. It may be one we were looking for, and it could be one that we hate. But the thing is, we will probably never make it to the discovery of this question. It may never be answered. But we will never know. So we just keep going to seek a great perhaps, and trying to figure a way out of this labyrinth of suffering.