Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Satisfactory Essays
In Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, he retells the story of a young man named Chris McCandless by putting together interviews, speaking with people who knew him, and using letters he writes to his companions. Chris McCandless also known as Alexander Supertramp is a bright young man and after graduating from Emory University with all honors, he abandons most of his possessions and travels around the west, making long lasting impact on whomever he meets. He then hitchhikes to Alaska where he is found dead. In chapter 14 and 15, both named “Stikine Ice Cap”, Jon Krakauer interrupts the boy's story and shares his anecdote of going to Alaska to climb a dangerous mountain called the Devils Thumb. Krakaure’s purpose is to refute the argument that McCandless is mentally ill because many others, like Krakauer have tried to “go into the wild” but they are lucky to survive unlike McCandless. While describing his climb, Krakauer exhibits through the descriptions of and uncertainty about personal relationships.

Through portrayal of the Stikine Icecap as both terrifying and beautiful, Krakauer’s ambivalence towards his journey is revealed. Upon looking at the aerial photograph of the Devil’s Thumb, Krakauer describes it as “particularly sinister” (135) and “dark” (153). By personifying the mountain as evil, Krakauer’s fear intensifies because the mountain is hard to climb and there is an underlying metaphysical danger. Furthermore the mountain’s tangible “blade-like” (135) summit ridges indicate the mountain is hazardous, dangerous, and capable of killing climbers like a knife. During the second ascend, Krakauer crosses a " Gothic cathedral" (152). Krakauer is uncertain of what to make of the Alaskan scenery. At times, he views the mountain as ...

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...increasingly anxious “because “[he] had no radio nor any other means of communicating with the outside world “(140). Krakauer’s dire need of assistance helps him recognize that he needs contact with the outside world to not only survive but to relive his innate desire of belonging. Likewise, Krakauer states “ at such moments [climbing the mountain ] something resembling happiness actually stirs in your chest, but it isn’t the sort of emotion you want to lean on very hard”(143) he implies the rush he gets from climbing mountains is not fully fulfilling and reliable; he needs part of the happiness to come from friendships and relationships.

While describing his climb, Krakauer exhibits his ambivalent feelings towards his voyage through the descriptions of a fearsome yet marvelous landscape, fragility versus confidence, and uncertainty about personal relationships.
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