The Great Perhaps


New people and new experiences

In the novel Looking for Alaska by John Green, Miles wants to go to Culver Creek boarding school because he is looking for the “Great Perhaps”. He gets the idea from the poet François Rabelais, who speaks of the “Great Perhaps” in his last words, “ ‘So this guy,’ I said, standing in the doorway of the living room. ‘François Rabelais. He was this poet. And his last words were ‘I go to seek a Great Perhaps.’ That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.’ ” (p. 10)

Miles is an outsider at his old school and has no friends. Therefore, he has had no experience with parties, alcohol, and cigarettes. His father, who also went to Culver Creek boarding school, has told him about his experiences there and now warns him not to attend. However, these experiences may be one reason why Miles believes he will find his Great Perhaps at the boarding school. In any case, Miles wants to experience something new and meet new people.

When he arrives at the boarding school, he thinks about the famous people who went to Culver Creek and the adventures they had (p. 14). Therefore, the great ...

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