Looking for alaska and for more than middle class

The name Walter Chodor is familiar in my family. I am the fourth generation Walter. My father, grandfather, and late great-grandfather have pushed me to be different. They don’t know that they have, but I want to be different than the rest. I’m looking for an adventure. My life to me isn’t what I expected it to be at sixteen. I’m utterly grateful for all that I have, but I thought I would have achieved more.

As I grew up, I dreamed I would be the smartest, or the most popular, or maybe even an athlete. Those stereotypical high school dreams aren’t my current reality. I can count my friends on my hands; I try to do my work to the best of my ability; I’d rather sit at home and read than dribble a basketball or kick a soccer ball. An important person in the workings of literature makes me question whether or not I should settle for middle class anymore.

While I was growing up, my mother mainly raised me. She was the one who always took me on trips to unknown places and was at my parent teacher conferences. My father, who was and currently is in my life, has always been there, but not in the sense that I could talk to him and he would listen. I would like to think because of that, I became picky about who I let into my life and told my problems to.

It’s one of the few reasons I like to be a social introvert and seclude myself from others. I grew up believing that what I said was irrelevant because people had problems way worse than mine. I taught myself what is right and wrong, and because of that, I think I grew up quite fast. So here I am, the fourth Walter, ready to be different.

This is where Miles Halter comes in. Miles ‘Pudge’ Halter is the main protagonist in the novel Looking for Alaska by John Green. Miles and I are nearly identical and I feel that we share the same values. Most of everything I said about myself can be said about Miles Halter: He has two friends, his parents don’t listen to him, and he is seeking his ‘great perhaps’, or adventure. Both he and I are sick and tired of the same thing over and over and are looking to step out into the unknown. He, although, is in the right environment. Miles moved from the only home he has known to a town in Alabama.

As the story progresses, I get more envious. Miles meets a girl by the name of Alaska Young. She physically pulls him from his comfort zone and makes him do things he wouldn’t normally do: smoke, drink, play pranks. (I’m not saying that I want to do those things, but I want to be adventurous) Me, living in Chicago, can get old. I do the same things and don’t know where I’m supposed to go to seek an adventure. I want so badly to become the person Miles is at the end of the novel: a boy with the understanding that it’s okay to be different and that everyone should just forgive and forget.

The main conflicting factor in my goal is my personality. When I go to new places, I just completely shut down. I think to myself, “I don’t need any new friends, so why bother?” That is the problem. I do not have any push to want to step away from my comfort zone: empty and unexciting.

I want to go away to college for the experience and I’m going to force myself because it’s for my benefit. I need to stop being scared, which is what is holding me back, and just do what I think will make me happy. Yes, I am going to leave, maybe I’ll find an adventure, or maybe it will find me.

If I could, I would just like to say thank you to Miles Halter, who was created by John Green’s imagination.

Thank you for helping me realize that I can become something in this world. I know now that my dreams of adventure and being different don’t have to be something everyone sees, just as long as I feel it and the others around me do.  Thank you for the understanding that it’s better to have a few close friends than many acquaintances.

I’ve been pointed in the right direction from feeling like no one to slowly feeling like someone. I’m moderately gaining the courage to do things that I wouldn’t normally do: tell people how I feel, introduce myself to strangers, and adapting to the environment rather than disappearing. This book has not only made me profess my new found love of reading, but to not be silent about what bothers me. My old high school dreams weren’t a reality, but I still have another year to make up new ones thanks to this book.

 

By Walter Chodor, Hancock College Prep Junior

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