Into the Wild Analysis

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Title: Into the Wild Publication Date: 1996

Author: Jon Krakauer Nationality: American

Author’s Birth/Death Dates: April 12th 1954 - Present

Distinguishing Traits of Author:

Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer. He has written many books about the outdoors and mountain climbing. He is the author of best-selling non-fiction books Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, Under the Banner of Heaven, and Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman. After graduating from college, he spent three weeks by himself in the wilderness of the Stikine Icecap region of Alaska and climbed the Devils Thumb. These experiences mirror what Chris McCandless has done in his book Into the Wild. Furthermore, Krakauer climber Mount Everest in 1996 and was a part of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster which involved four of his teammates (including the up leader Rob Hall) dying in a storm as they descended from the mountain.

Plot Synopsis:

Jim Gallien was driving through Alaska, when he sees a 24-year-old hitchhiker named Alex who came from South Dakota. As Alex elaborates on his plan to explore the wilderness, Gallien tries changing his mind, as he is certain that Alex is unprepared for life in the Alaskan wilderness. Therefore, Gallien offers to buy Alex some gears to help improve his chances of surviving. Despite Gallien’s good intentions, Alex declines. As Alex departs for adventure, Gallien gives Alex his phone number, telling him to call if he makes it out alive. Almost 5 months later on September 6, 1992, Ken Thompson, Gordon Samel, and Ferdie Swanson arrive at a broken down bus. At the site of the abandoned bus, a decomposed corpse is found.

This unfortunate even begins the investigation and story of a man named Chris McCandless, a young man who perished when he is twenty-four. McCandless grew up in a wealthy Virginia, and was a very gifted athlete as well as a smart individual. After graduating from high school, McCandless spent his summer by taking a road trip across the country. Upon his return, he changes his mood because he discovered that his father secretly had a second family during his childhood. McCandless soon returns home and starts school at Emory, but his bitterness over the fact that he was not told of such an important secret gradually grew worse and worse. As a senior, he drove away most of his friends and barely kept in touch with his parents. As soon as he has graduated, he donates his $25,000 savings anonymously to OXFAM, gets in his car, and drives away with the intention of disappearing from his parents’ radar. As a last symbol of his resolve to leave his past life behind, he abandons his real name and changes his name to Alexander Supertramp.

As he travels further and further down the path of adventure he carved for himself, McCandless meets and drastically affects many people. Although developing close bonds with many, nobody could deter him from continuing his harrowing journey. As McCandless travels around and into the wild, he keeps a personal diary and takes pictures to document the places he has been. Isolated from society, McCandless survives in the wilderness with minimum food and equipment. As soon as he is finished with one adventure, he decides briefly returned society in order to make some income and purchase enough supplies for his next wild quest. Before he passed away, he had visited many areas such as Las Vegas and San Diego

At the beginning of his adventure, Chris makes acquaintances with Wayne Westerberg, the owner of a grain elevator in Carthage, South Dakota. After initial departing, Chris comes back a few weeks later to work for Wayne in order to generate some income. After leaving Westerberg’s place, Chris heads south and eventually ends up in Arizona where he buys a canoe. He soon decides to row down the Colorado River to the Gulf of California and sneaks into Mexico. On January 11, 1991, he is nearly overpowered in a bad storm, and after managing to...
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