Into the Wild by Jon Krakaur | Teen Ink

Into the Wild by Jon Krakaur

April 25, 2012
By readerwriter1 SILVER, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
readerwriter1 SILVER, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
8 articles 1 photo 0 comments

Into the Wild is John Krakauer’s look at life and death of the enigmatic Christopher McCandless. In April 1992, McCandless, age twenty-four, ventured into the Alaskan wilderness and never returned. His remains, weighing just sixty-seven pounds, were discovered nineteen days after his death in an abandoned bus. Krakauer, himself a bold and accomplished explorer, skillfully guides the reader on a journey to determine what kind of man would expose both himself and his family to such pain. Krakauer unfolds the mystery of McCandless’s death by using interviews, McCandless’s childhood experiences, and stories of similar adventurers to give a greater insight into McCandless’s psyche.
In this poignant and compelling narrative, Krakauer attempts to discover what could move an educated, well-to-do young man to abandon his possessions and head into the wilderness alone. Krakauer is an accomplished journalist, and the reporting in Into the Wild is first-rate. The author sets out for the Alaskan wilderness in an attempt to retrace McCandless’s steps. Krakauer also shares some of his own personal experiences in the book, which add to the story and help show why Krakauer is so fascinated with McCandless. The meticulously researched narrative is an affecting story of longing anf loss.
Into the Wild delves into the character of Christopher McCandless. McCandless wished to embark on a testing and meaningful adventure in Alaska. He sought Tolstoyan transcendence in the wild and believed he could find it in Alaska. Some readers saw McCandless as arrogant, overconfident, and idiotic. To these readers, he was self-assured in his approach towards surviving in the wilderness and contemptuous towards learning relevant knowledge that would keep him alive. Critics of his character remarked that McCandless did not have the humility to prepare himself for his trek. However, this reader finds no disagreement with Krakauer’s fine peace of journalism. I applaud how McCandless followed his own ideals and lived by his own wits. He lived, and died, on his own terms. I do not find him foolish, but instead possessing a drive to find his own happiness. McCandless saw purity in nature and wanted to be a part of it. McCandless despised the idea of living only for the expectations of others and instead searched for a more meaningful life.
John Krakauer’s Into the Wild is well written and exhilarating. The fascinating narrative of the life and death of Christopher McCandless enthralls the reader from start to finish. McCandless’s ideas about life, seen though his journal entries and actions, leave the reader haunted for days. Krakauer has written a first rate take on the engrossing and tragic life of Christopher McCandless.

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