11/6 until the end of the trimester

FRIDAY is reserved for you to work on reading the first half of Looking for Alaska or The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

Please do ONE of the following in your lab book (you can choose which you prefer):

  1. Write three Socratic Seminar Questions and answer one.
  2. Flag five passages and write an analysis of one.

MONDAY will be a writing day as usual, though you’ll also have your vocab test over Morphemes 1-50.

We will have a seminar on TUESDAY, a reading day on WEDNESDAY and a seminar over the rest of the book on THURSDAY, so… feel free to read as far ahead as you like this weekend.

Those folks who are reading DHFLB will have a private seminar with Ms. Bjelland. Usually we have to just make it work for us all to have the same discussion but this year is a huge bonus. 🙂

Your lab book prompt for the second half of the book will be the same as your lab book prompt was for the first half, since we’re still working our way through Socratic Seminars. 🙂


8 thoughts on “11/6 until the end of the trimester

  1. On page 16 the school’s swan is mentioned as something that has issues with people, the spawn of Satan and not to get close. I think that the swan represents Alaska because not only is she naughty but she, like the spawn of Satan may be, but she has that vibe like you should not get too close. This is probably because she is pretty emotionally messed up. Like others were saying during class today, I think that when her mom died, she broke in a way. I noticed on page 44 she said, “Y’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die.” This is pretty messed up, almost as if her death is a suicide. Although I am sure we will discuss that more after we read the “after” section. On page 107 the swan bites Pudge. Like Alaska, the swan does pretty much whatever it wants. I think that this scene may foreshadow that Alaska will somehow “bite Pudge in the ass” or hurt him in some way. I think that this will be in a more emotional way not physical. Alaska and the swan are also similar in that swans are typically thought of as sweet and beautiful and Pudge definitely feels that way about Alaska. Alaska is also unpredictable like the swan. Pudge is wary of both the swan and Alaska because of this. So far I have also noticed an odd dynamic between all the students. There is a trust between everyone not to rat out each other, and Alaska breaks this when she rats to the Eagle. I think that this could mean more, but I don’t know what.

  2. [Due to the fact that I have no idea where to post a comment for the seminar for the “before” half of Looking for Alaska, I’m going to post this here]
    Today in class Ellen brought up the fact that despite having read the novel a number of times, she doesn’t really know why the novel is titled what it is. I feel that the reason this book is called Looking for Alaska is because the title refers to the relationship between Miles and Alaska in the first half of the novel. Much like the state itself, Alaska Young is vast and mysterious to people who don’t know her very well. In the beginning of the novel Miles doesn’t really know her very well, but over time he gets closer and closer to her, slowly over uncovering the mystery of who she really is. Miles is trying to find what the essence of Alaska Young is, to find out who she is deep down. We find out essential pieces of who she is-Her guilt over her mother’s death, her love of sex and drinking, and her political view’s-but never truly ever find who she really is. So in a sense, the book is called Looking For Alaska because it’s about Miles Halter’s search for Alaska’s true self.

  3. I think the labyrinth of suffering is not only that everyone dies but that everyone close to you is going to die at some point. The suffering is when you could have done something to save them and didn’t. When Alaska told the story of how she let her mom die it was setting up for when she died, because Miles and the Colonel had the chance to stop her and they knew she could die while driving drunk but didn’t. The suffering is living with yourself after something terrible happened that you could have stopped. I also think her death was sort of a suicide but that her lifestyle kind of caused it. She was already smoking a ton and said “I smoke to die” so I thought that she was going to die of cancer from smoking, but the excessive drinking is another part of her which actually led to her death. Also I think that its important after they distracted the Eagle for Alaska, Miles and the Colonel “slept like babies”. This shows that it was their last night of being young or innocent because after this they realized they had inadvertently helped to kill their friend.

  4. While reading the first half of this book, it’s very simple to see that all of the characters are seeking the meaning of life and how to end suffering. The most important quotes in this section of the novel deal with the “Great Perhaps” and “escaping the labyrinth”. I connected the kids’ behaviors to what they are learning in World Religion class, especially Buddhism. In Buddhist belief, Siddhartha (Buddha)’s goal in life was to find an end to suffering. Siddhartha approached this many ways, may it be physical pain or meditation. In the end, the method that found his solution was coming to peace with himself and everything around him. I think Alaska’s main problem was she was hiding her inner demons her whole life, as shown by the Colonel’s surprise when she told the story of her mother’s death. She had known the Colonel the longest, yet she refused to tell even him of the real reason why she lived life so dangerously. Although Alaska never found peace with herself, I believe her death will help Miles find peace with himself.

  5. I agree with James that it’s easy to see that all of the characters are suffering from different causes as they are seeking the meaning of life in the labyrinth. But in addition to James’ connection with Buddhism, one of the philosophies (as learned in WHAP) of this religion is to take away desire because that is the cause of suffering. We know that the death of Alaska is foreshadowed-but is this the cause? Her desire for the meaning of the labyrinth can only be taken away by her life? And maybe this is the reason why she maybe has died…she has found this as the only solution (or the way out) of the labyrinth. Who else will find their way out of it?

  6. I would like to bring attention to once again Alaska’s name. Alaska’s downfall is clear just based on her name. Because her name is Alaska she has gone south from her beginnings and going south means horrible things. Alaska’s reckless behavior, breaking down, and very well hinted death should not surprise anyone as her name gives it away. Her search for the answer to the labyrinth of suffering has lead Alaska even further south and has affected her choices such as the “straight and fast” written in the book. Alaska searched for the exit of the labyrinth while refusing to move in the labyrinth because she refuses to forget or get past her mother’s passing.

  7. What I took away from the reading is that there is a lot of heat and fire.The characters smoke cigarettes often requiring a flame to light, but also when miles suffers from the heat in the beginning.I think that heat and or fire mean passion or anger. When Miles is suffering from the heat, he might actually be suffering from the passion that is between him and Alaska. Not only that but when the character light a smoke, they could really be expressing their anger because of their suffering.

  8. I think the communion scene at Thanksgiving is significant. A good outcome for a communion scene typically means a good outcome for all involved, and this scene seems to have a good outcome at first. However, while it does have a good outcome for Pudge, who falls asleep in the car on the way home, the outcome is not good for Alaska. On the way back to Culver Creek, she tells the Colonel that she was the one who ratted out Paul and Marya, and the Colonel gets mad. This shows that the outcome for Alaska, or for the relationship between Alaska and the Colonel, will not be good. This time in the car is a continuation of the communion scene, because although they are not eating anymore, Alaska tells the Colonel something, so they are still sharing. However, for Pudge, the communion ends at the dinner, because he is asleep in the car.
    This scene also says a lot about the quality of the Colonel’s home life. Good food represents a warm, loving environment, and the fact that the Colonel’s mom is such a good cook shows that she is also warm and loving, even though their family is very poor. The good quality of the food shows that they still have a good quality of life.

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