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Accident Or Suicide? An Analytical Essay On The Cause Of Alaska Young’s Death

1082 words - 5 pages

In the novel Looking For Alaska the character Alaska Young is killed in a car crash. During the section of the book that takes place after she dies, two of her best friends, the Colonel and Pudge, attempt to figure out if the crash was an accident or something purposeful. At the conclusion of the story, Pudge and the Colonel decide that there is no way to tell if her death was voluntary or unintentional and that they had "had enough of chasing after a ghost who did not want to be discovered"(212). However, I believe that that there was a way to discover her true intentions, and that her self-destruction was all too willful.
To understand the reasoning behind Alaska's death one must first ...view middle of the document...

She spent the rest of her life after that moment blaming herself for her mother's death, and her father did the same. Because of this, when she forgets the anniversary of her mother's death she thinks that "she screwed things up with her mom again", contributing to her omnipresent guilt. She also believed that the world was full of inescapable suffering (82), a belief that could be one of many in favor of her suicide. In addition to these reasons, Alaska's home life was far from perfect. She rarely spoke about her family and when she did she declared "I'm just scared of ghosts, Pudge. And home is full of them,"(80). Altogether, Alaska was a deeply unhappy person (124).
Not only did Alaska have many reasons to kill herself, she also displayed many warning signs for suicidal behavior. The Colonel and Pudge find a list of warning signs on the internet and attempt to apply it to Alaska (165), however they disregard many of the signs and do not thoroughly analyze her behavior. One of the signs of suicidal thoughts is use (or increased use) of mind-altering substances (166) and Alaska exhibited an increased amount of alcohol abuse in the month before her death, something noted by Pudge. Another warning sign of suicide is the loss of a friend or family member through death and the loss of Alaska's mother fits that description. Alaska also often talked about death, specifically her own, even going so far as to say that "Y'all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die," (44). An additional sign of suicidal thoughts is "Having a ‘death wish,’ tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights,"1 and whenever Alaska rove she refused to take her foot off the accelerator (51).The sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy1 was also a warning sign that was a large part of...

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