Alaska Young

Alaska Young

    Looking for Alaska

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living... unhappily, with her distant dad. Her mother’s free-spiritedness used to balance her dad’s conservativeness, but when her mom died years ago, it unbalanced their once happy household.

Visiting... Culver Creek Academy, her elite boarding school in Alabama. It’s Alaska’s respite from her difficult home life, and this year she gets a dorm room all to herself after her roommate gets kicked out for breaking the rules.

Profession... student. Like most of the kids at Culver Creek, Alaska is very smart, although academics aren’t always her first priority.

Interests... smoking, drinking, and collecting a “Life’s Library” of books she intends to read one day.

Relationship Status... dating a college student named Jake. Though Alaska loves Jake, it’s hard that he’s so far away and living such a different life than her. She’s also close to her best friend Chip “The Colonel” Martin, as well as new kid Miles Halter. It’s pretty clear that Miles has a massive crush on her, but how Alaska feels about Miles is a little more ambiguous—maybe even to herself.

Challenge... keeping herself from unraveling. Alaska likes to solve problems where she sees them, whether that’s finding a girlfriend for Miles or helping The Colonel plan his latest prank war. The problem is, she’s not very good at asking for help when she needs it herself. She’s drawn to the last words of political leader Simón Bolívar: "Damn it. How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!" Is the labyrinth life, death, or something else? And can it ever be escaped?

Personality... confident, reckless, and more fragile than she lets on. Alaska loves to project a self-assured, free-spirited attitude, but that doesn’t always represent how she actually feels. As she says in one despondent moment, “Y’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die.” She has a lot of pain in her past, which sometimes bursts forth in emotionally volatile mood swings. She can shift from fun and flirtatious to depressed or angry at the drop of a hat. Alaska is a proud feminist with a no-nonsense attitude and a love for breaking rules. Yet for as much as she values her independence, it often feels like Alaska is trying to be something the world wants her to be.


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