Into The Wild


Discussion Questions

1. In his Author’s Note, Jon Krakauer says that reader responses to the story of Christopher McCandless have been widely mixed. Some readers admire the young man and consider him courageous. Others criticize McCandless as being arrogant and narcissistic. After reading the book, what do you think is Krakauer’s opinion of McCandless? What is your own opinion?

2. In order to create the character of McCandless and shed light on his thoughts and motivations, Krakauer often quotes passages that McCandless had underlined in his books. He also quotes McCandless’s own notations in the margins of his books. How does this technique work to develop character? If Krakauer had only relied on other people’s descriptions of McCandless, his letters, and his journal entries, how might you see McCandless differently? In your opinion, does Krakauer’s technique of invoking McCandless’s favorite authors shed more light on McCandless’s personality?

3. Discuss the structure of Into the Wild. Why do you suppose Krakauer begins the narrative toward the end of McCandless’s life and then jumps around in time so much? What is the effect of relating information out of chronological order? In your opinion, does Krakauer’s choice of structure make the story more or less engaging?

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