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Theme and Setting of Into The Wild, by Jon Krakauer Essay

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“Into The Wild” by John Krakauer is a non-fiction biographical novel which is based on the life of a young man, Christopher McCandless. Many readers view Christopher’s journey as an escape from his family and his old life. The setting of a book often has a significant impact on the story itself. The various settings in the book contribute to the main characters’ actions and to the theme as a whole. This can be proven by examining the impact the setting has on the theme of young manhood, the theme of survival and the theme of independent happiness.

The settings in the story have impacts on the theme of young manhood. Chris leaves his family and decides to go on a journey to find a new life. Christopher felt affected in his family presence so he sends his final school report to his family: “McCandless was thrilled to be on his way north, and he was relieved as well-relieved that he had again evaded the impending threat of human intimacy, of friendship, and all the messy emotional baggage that comes with it”(Krakauer,55). He believes that this is a way to find his true identity and peace of mind, which he thought could be achieved by fleeing into the wild. Chris seemed to have a bad relationship with his parents, especially with his father because Chris found out that he had a child with his first wife when Chris was born. This fact is revealed by his dad’s old neighbour, “Walt’s split from his first wife, Marcia, was not a clean or amicable parting. Long after falling in love with Billie, long after she gave birth to Chris, Walt continued his relationship with Marcia in secret” (Krakauer121). Chris knew about his father’s affair with another woman and this made it easier for Chris to not care about what his family has to say ...


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... existence” (Krakauer22). This new life Chris was living meant more than anything in the world and his happiness was all that matters for him.

All in all, it is interesting how the trials of life can lead a person into an awakening that inspires millions. Many people believe that walking “into the wild” to live off the land and find himself alone in nature was arrogant, foolish and irresponsible. Chris lacks of knowledge about the wild was a major factor in his death. Chris did not plan how he will survive in the wilderness without proper equipments. He misunderstood that he would have no problem in setting in the wild. Chris immature manner and decisions lead him to starvation and ultimately death. If he planned it out in the beginning he would have saved his life.




Work Cited

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


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