Into the wild symbols
By John Krakauer
Mountains symbolize overcoming challenges One challenge McCandless faced was when he accidently entered Mexico on his canoe and got stranded. Another challenge McCandless faced was when he couldn't cross the Teklanika River in the Alaska Range, which eventually led to his death. In the book, Krakaur notes, "In his journal he wrote, ' Disaster...Rained in. River look impossible. Lonely, scared. ' He concluded, correctly, that he would probably be swept to his death if he attempted to cross the Teklanika at that place, in those conditions. " (Into the Wild, pg. 170)
McCandless chooses to abandon his beloved yellow Datsun after a rainstorm causes a river to overflow into the wash he was camped out at and flooded the car's engine. The car is symbolic of McCandless's disgust with the generally materialistic mannerisms of humanity. Americans value their cars, and he is able to leave his in the desert. The author, Krakaur, notes, "At the edge of the dry riverbed, in a thicket of saltbush not far from where they had parked, a large object was concealed beneath a dun-colored tarpaulin. When the rangers pulled off the tarp, they found an old yellow Datsun without license plates...The Datsun of course belonged to Chris McCandless." (Into the Wild, pg. 26 and pg. 27)
The moose that McCandless shoots and then, heartbreakingly, fails to preserve is emblematic of his relationship to the wild in general. Moose meat could have prevented McCandless from starving to death. Because of his hubris, however, he isn't prepared for the enormous task of curing the flesh and ultimately fails at it. The consequences are fatal. In McCandless's journal, he reflects "...I now wish I had never shot the moose. One of the greatest tragedies of my life." (Into the Wild, pg. 167)
Presumably named by McCandless after a song by The Who, the bus represents the good fortune he repeatedly encounters during his journey through the American...
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