Into The Wild


Chapter 10 to Chapter 13

Chapter 10 Summary

A New York Times article dated September 13, 1992, reports that an unidentified man has been found, dead of starvation, in the remote Alaskan interior. The same story had been covered three days earlier in the Anchorage Daily News, where Jim Gallien read it. Gallien believes the man to be “Alex” and calls to report what he knows to the police. Wayne Westerberg hears the story on the radio and also calls in what he knows about McCandless to the Alaska State Troopers. Westerberg has McCandless’s social security number on a tax form, and the police use this to identify the man’s permanent residence as Virginia. McCandless’s half-brother Sam is finally contacted. Sam is able to positively identify Christopher from a photograph found among the dead man’s possessions. With a heavy heart, Sam heads to Maryland—where his father and stepmother now live—to deliver the tragic news.

Chapter 11 Summary

Krakauer interviews McCandless’s parents, Walt and Billie, at their home in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. Walt is a tall, fifty-six-year-old man who “projects an air of authority.” A successful aerospace engineer, Walt is described by his colleagues as “brilliant.” Krakauer speculates that the younger McCandless shared his father’s “intensity” and that the equally strong but often conflicting nature of their personalities created a strain between them. The interview takes place seven weeks after McCandless’s body was found, and there are still many pictures set up in the dining room memorializing him. The obviously grieving and confused parents share several stories about the young Christopher McCandless which shed light on his personality.

From the beginning, McCandless had an independent spirit. At the age of two, he left the house in the middle of the night to raid a neighbor’s candy drawer. He also excelled in everything he attempted, and was placed in accelerated classes for...

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