Into The Wild


Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Summary

The narrative jumps to September 6, 1992, when Christopher McCandless’s lifeless body is discovered by a group of hunters. Ken Thompson, Gordon Samel, and Ferdie Swanson are out tracking moose, and they make their way to the bus. Once there, they encounter a couple of hikers from Anchorage standing nearby, “looking kinda spooked.” The Anchorage couple points to the note they have just discovered taped to the rear door of the bus. It is an S.O.S. message that reads: “I need your help. I am injured, near death, and too weak to hike out of here. I am all alone, this is NO JOKE. In the name of God, please remain to save me. I am out collecting berries close by and shall return this evening. Thank you, Chris McCandless. August?”

Gordon Samel is the first to look inside the bus, from which emanates a terrible smell of decay. He discovers the remains of Christopher McCandless inside of a sleeping bag. Soon after, another hunter, Butch Killian, appears on the scene by chance. He has a two-way radio, which he uses to contact the Alaska State Troopers. The body is evacuated by helicopter the next day. The police also take with them a camera and five rolls of used film, the note, and a journal documenting McCandless’s final days. The body is autopsied in Anchorage, and it is determined that starvation was the most likely cause of death. When the rolls of film are developed, they contain several self-portraits of McCandless.

Analysis: Chapter 2

Now Krakauer skips all the way ahead to the end of McCandless’s story, the day his body is discovered dead inside the bus. In doing so, Krakauer heightens the reader’s curiosity about all of the intervening events. Throughout the book, Krakauer jumps around in time in this way, but not to be deliberately frustrating. The structure of Into the Wild is based around Krakauer’s personal exploration and development of McCandless’s character. Thus, Krakauer now takes the reader to the point at which...

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