Blog 5 – Imitation

Imitation is using parts and elements from other stories in your own work. I am going to use the characterization for the character the Colonel. His real name is Chip. Chip was raised really poor, living in a trailer park with just his mom. He never got exactly what he wanted, and was not at all spoiled. This lead to him being a grateful young man, for everything that he has. In the short story that I’m writing, I plan on making my main character very similar to Chip. He is going to be raised poor also, so that when he’s older he becomes a respectful man. One of the issues with this childhood, though, is Chip has slight anger issues. This will be important in my short story too, I haven’t figured out how yet, but there will be parts where his anger shows.

I want to use this kind of characterization for my main character because I like in stories when a character came from a bad background, and then end up being the better person. This shows how you’re raised can really impact who you are shaped into. It also shows what the important qualities are about people, not just their money or reputation. In my short story, the main character’s ex-girlfriend s going to have a husband who is very rich, but he has a terrible personality. He was born into his wealth, and this is going to really show that how you are raised, makes you into who you are. This is important to the development of the story because the main character has the better personality, and is the better person in general, but the wife is going to end up staying with the rich husband anyway.  I really hope to use characterization to demonstrate the reason why people act how they do.

Blog 4 – Setting

Setting plays a couple important roles in Looking for Alaska. One of the main reasons it is important is because it is a private school, which really sets up the personalities of most of the characters. They all live with a roommate alone on campus. There isn’t a crazy amount of supervision, there is mostly just trust. The lack of supervision causes the students to become sneaky. They spend the majority of their time wandering around to hiding spots to smoke cigarettes. Also, on some weekends they find ways to get drunk and have really small parties. Even though the lack of supervision pushes them to be more on the bad, sneaky side, it also pushes them to be much more responsible. They are responsible for getting themselves up and running through their schedules. There are no parents bossing them around and telling them what to do.

Characters are revealed through the setting because it shows how the students act without their parents or many adults around. Pudge is the main character and he starts off in the book living at home as the only child. We slowly see him change as the setting of the school rubs off on him. He starts to smoke cigarettes very often and even gets drunk, which in the beginning of the story he says he didn’t plan on doing. Alaska is the one that smokes and drinks the most. She sells cigarettes to other students and has secret hiding places for things throughout the campus. The Colonel is an average student, smoking a decent amount and drinking sometimes by himself and other times at parties. There is a group labeled the “Weekday Warriors”, which are the students who go home every weekend. They are considered the rich kids and don’t get along with the kids that stay on campus all the time. The setting helps reveal that they must be pretty rich because they can travel back and forth every weekend, and they are already paying for a private school.

An example of when the setting had a big impact on the story, was when Alaska, the Colonel, and Pudge were all drunk in her dorm room. Once they fell asleep, Alaska got up and drove off campus where she got in a car accident and died. The setting with no parental vision affected her being able to get up and drive off with no one stopping her, even though Pudge and the Colonel could have stopped her.

Blog 3 – Humor

In Looking For Alaska, there is a decent amount of humor. It’s not the funniest story, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring to read. The author finds ways to incorporate slight humor throughout the book. Most of the time it has to do with Pudge either making fun of himself, or getting picked on by his friends. He has a crush on his friend Alaska, who is a really outgoing, complicated girl. She has a boyfriend from a different school, so she flirts with Pudge a lot. The way she flirts with Pudge is kind of funny because she will be really flirtatious for a few minutes, and then next thing you know she leaves. She will come to his dorm room, talk to him a little, and then randomly get up and leave. This leaves Pudge confused and in wonderment. This affects me as a reader because it adds cute, small humor to the storyline. Another time when the author adds humor is they recently started to work on their annual prank. Every year it is tradition to pull a prank, and this year they decided to do a double prank. This means they are going to have a “pre-prank” before the real, big one. The reader doesn’t get told much about the prank because it’s from Pudge’s point of view, and the other characters aren’t telling him anything about the prank. So far two of them have thrown firecrackers outside of the principal’s room, as the “distraction”. This adds excitement to an otherwise kind of slow story. It also keeps the reader on their toes because of how the author wrote it. I don’t know what’s going to happen at all with the prank, so it keeps me anxious to read more. Other than that, and a few other small moments, the author doesn’t add much humor.

Humor could be added to the book by using Pudge’s awkwardness more. He’s a very awkward guy and easy to be picked on, so there could be many more situations with that. He has never partied or drank any alcohol at all. A funny situation the author could use is getting Pudge drunk and having him be out of control doing crazy, dumb things. The school is a party school, so I am surprised he hasn’t drank yet there.

Blog 2 – Characterization

In Looking For Alaska, the protagonist is Miles. Miles’s roommate at his boarding school gave him the nickname Pudge, due to his extremely skinny, thin body. He is revealed by the author through what he says and does, and by what others say about him. From the start of the book, it was clear that Miles was an awkward guy. He admits to it often, and says things a lot that prove it too. He doesn’t talk very much, and doesn’t know how to keep a conversation going. He tells the reader that when talking to someone, he a lot of times doesn’t know how to respond. So he finds himself giving short, boring answers, which leads to the conversation ending quickly. He also says, though, that he sometimes gives short answers because he doesn’t care to ask more questions to find out more. He just lets the conversation end so that he doesn’t have to talk to them anymore. His awkwardness gets him duct-taped and thrown in a lake. Chip, his roommate, informs him that all new students get thrown in the lake, but never duct-taped. Miles is the type of guy that follows the rules, especially with things that would upset his parents. Yet he easily lets people peer pressure him. He knew that he was moving into a boarding school that’s crazy and unpredictable, but he starts off by saying he would try to avoid the bad things as best he could. Things like cigarettes. His first night there, Chip got him to smoke his first cigarette.

His personality affects the conflict because he gets pulled into small conflicts easily. I haven’t read far enough to know the main conflict in the book, but he has gotten in small problems. Aside from almost drowning in the lake, he also got himself kicked out of class. He was daydreaming in his favorite class, religion, and the teacher called him out and told him to leave the classroom. Embarrassed, he got up and left, and was followed by the girl he’s been crushing on, Alaska. Alaska lives a couple dorms down, and is friends with Chip. She is a conflict on her own, and seems like a very troubled girl. Miles is already crazy about her, though.

While getting to know Miles in this book, I’ve realized that he’s a really nice, good guy and would be a loyal friend to the right person. He is easily manipulated, though, and believes everything he hears. He should try to be more of his own person, and try not to worry what others are gonna think about him.

First Blog – Looking for Alaska

For my English class, I am reading Looking for Alaska. I decided on this book because I have had many friends read it and tell me about how much they enjoyed it, so I thought I would finally read it and see for myself. I also like some of John Green’s other books, like Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars.

So far from what I’ve read, the book is about Miles who lives in Florida with just his parents. He seems like a quiet, awkward guy, because of few interactions with people in the beginning. His parents threw him a going-away party, and only two friends showed up. He actually doesn’t even consider them his friends, and he calls them boring and dull. But Miles realizes he wants to make his life more interesting, so he transfers to a boarding school, Culver Creek. This boarding school is known for crazy, strange events to occur, and he hopes to find the “Great Perhaps”. This was said in a quote by a famous writer, and Miles wants to find his “Great Perhaps” before he is dying. His father, uncle, and cousins also went to this school, and Miles’s father thinks that Miles wants to go there to follow in his footsteps. Miles’s parents seem distant from him, and they seem like an awkward family. They definitely don’t know a lot about each other, and don’t talk a lot as a family.

On move-in day at Culver Creek, Miles’s parents help him move into his small dorm room. The dorm room was not at all what he was expecting from all of the stories he’s heard. Once his parents left, he took a shower because there’s no air conditioning so he was sweating. As he was coming out of the bathroom, his roommate was entering the room. He introduced himself as Chip, and Miles, with a towel around his waist, quickly went to put some clothes on. They quickly start talking, even though Miles isn’t much of a small talker.

I didn’t read far enough into the book to learn a lot about Chip, but he seems like a fun guy. I think it might actually be a hard time not reading this book outside of class because I already like it quite a bit. I’m thinking that my friends that read it are right.