Analysis of Into the Wild, by John Karkauer


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Into the wild is a book about a young man, who leaves society to hitchhike to Alaska and live alone in the wilderness. “Christopher Johnson McCandless graduated from Emory University in May 1990 with a degree in history and anthropology”p.20. “toward the end of June, Chris mailed his parents a copy of his final grade report.”p.21. He was a well educated man. He had many opportunities in life to be successful. “It was the last anyone in chris family would ever hear from him”.p.22. By August, Chris’ parents received his grades in the mail. He asked the post office to delay them mailing his final grades to his family.

The time this book takes place is the late 90s. Most of this book takes place in the western united states, which is not very populated at the time of the book. “after departing Las Vegas in May 1991.”p.38 “we know he spent July and August on the Oregon coast, probably in the vicinity of Astoria.” p.39. “In September he hitch down US highway 101 into California and then headed east into the desert again. And by early October he had landed in Bullhead city, Arizona.” p.39. These are the places he visited along the West Coast of the United States.

This book would lure the audience of a young adult readers looking for an adventure. It is also a great wilderness and survival book. The author emphasizes the journey that Christopher takes. “Two years he walks the earth. No phone, no pool, no pet, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road.” p.163. This can relate to the audience because, some people choose to live without extra amenities.

The purpose of this book is to address the issues of seclusion from society. Christopher has plenty of opportunities but chooses to give it all up for life in the wilderness. “I had been granted unusual freedom and responsibility at an early age, for which I should have been grateful in the extreme, but I wasn’t.” p.148. “Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitchhiking bring him to the great white north. No longer poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild.” p.163. Christopher spends several years on the road.

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During this time, he meets some important people, never letting them get too close. He is looking forward to spending time alone in the wild.

The author, Jon Krakauer was born in Brookline, Massachusetts and moved to Oregon at the age of two. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington. His father introduced him to mountaineering at the age of eight. The author though believes he has lived similar life situations at Christopher and tells his personal experiences. An Outside magazine article prompted the book. “A trancelike state settles over your efforts, the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream.” p.142. “Late in the day on the north face of the Thumb, I felt the glue, disintegrate with a swing of an ice ax.” p.143. A personal account of Krakauer’s Mt Everest disaster.

The attitude of the author is, a young man is determined to give up everything to travel and live in the wilderness. Leaving his family behind. He meets some interesting people along the way. “Please return all mail I receive to the sender. If this adventure proves fatal and you don’t ever hear from me again, I want you to know you’re a great man. I know walk into the wild”. p.69. This is the last postcard before he goes into the wild. The author’s attitude is that he may not survive the wild. “Before departing, Franz gave Christopher a machete, an arctic parka, a collapsible fishing pole, and some other gear for his Alaska undertaking.” p.54. “relieved that he had again evaded intimacy, friendship and all the emotional baggage that comes with it.” p.55. Christopher is cautious to not for new relationships.




Works Cited

Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. Print.


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