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Culture > Entertainment

What we can learn from Alaska

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

Contains spoilers for John Green’s novel, ‘Looking for Alaska’.

Looking for Alaska is a coming-of-age novel by John Green that explores the life of a teenager, Miles Halter, as he navigates through his first year at a boarding school in Alabama. The book is filled with relatable themes and life lessons that can help readers navigate the challenges of university life.

One of the main themes of the book is the pursuit of meaning and purpose in life. Miles is searching for a “Great Perhaps,” a phrase coined by French poet François Rabelais, which represents the quest for knowledge and new experiences. This theme is highly relevant to university life, where students are often trying to find their path and discover what they are passionate about.

Another important theme of the book is the importance of friendship. Miles develops close relationships with his friends, including his roommate Chip “The Colonel,” Alaska, and Takumi. These friendships are not always easy, as the group experiences conflicts and challenges, but they ultimately provide a sense of belonging and support. In university, building and maintaining strong friendships is essential for a fulfilling and successful experience.

Looking for Alaska also explores the themes of love, loss, and grief. Miles falls in love with Alaska, a complex and enigmatic character who struggles with her own demons. The novel shows how love can be both joyful and painful, and how grief can be a difficult but necessary process for healing. These themes are highly relevant to university life, where students may experience romantic relationships, the loss of loved ones, and the stress of academic and personal challenges.

Finally, the novel examines the consequences of actions and the importance of responsibility. The characters make mistakes and face the consequences, highlighting the importance of owning up to one’s actions and taking responsibility for them. This lesson is relevant to university life, where students must take responsibility for their academic work, personal relationships, and behaviour.

Looking for Alaska is a powerful novel that can provide guidance and insight for navigating the challenges of university life. Its themes of purpose, friendship, love, loss, and responsibility can help readers understand themselves and their place in the world. By learning from the characters’ experiences and applying these lessons to their own lives, readers can build fulfilling and meaningful university experiences.

Tashfia Monzur

Nottingham '24

I'm excited to be part of the Her Campus team and write about the things I love! :)