The book by Jon Krakauer titled “Into the Wild”

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The novel “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer details the life of Christopher McCandless, who chose to go off the grid and abandon his belongings in search of nature’s temperament. The protagonist of the 1992 story is a young man who comes from a stable home and graduated with honors from the University, but who seems to be psychologically driven to follow a different direction. He gave his $25,000 savings to charity, left his car in the desert, burned the rest of his money, and left his parents and sister to live a new life in the wilderness (Krakauer 100). He rebranded himself to Alexander Supertramp and decided to follow the path that some of his heroes Jack London and John Muir had taken based on the description by the author. He was later found after about four months dead, and following a series of entries he made about his life in the wilderness, speculations have been raised regarding the cause of death of the controversial character.

Context of the Book

It is, however, important to draw into the contextual analysis of the text based on the manner of death and its relevance to the society at the time of the setting of the book. The story is based on a true story of a young man who despite being well-educated, appeared to prefer to chase his dreams in a unique manner. Regarding the background of the book based on time, it is clear that in 1992 when he died, there probably could not have been widespread populations and not many explorations which explain why McCandless’ body was found in an abandoned bus (Read). It is also possible that the young graduate could have been too proud of himself knowing he was a graduate at such a time that he decided not to consult anyone before making the fateful decision.

The assessment of the context of the book is also relevant in the perspective of time place considering that it is set in Alaska. Again, the setting of the book is appropriate while considering the place considerations because having been a graduate living in one of the popular states in the U.S. at the time, McCandless saw the desire to explore the Western United States but maintain privacy as he could not trust many based on his intellect exploits.

Lastly, by factoring the person in McCandless, the reader gets the impression of an arrogant, secretive, and brave young man. Krakauer quotes several other artists who had followed a similar path despite leading successful lives, and it could imply that being a graduate from the university in the twentieth century was linked with some form of arrogance in the name of self-belief. Therefore, through understanding the contexts of time, place, and person, it is illustrated that McCandless was a depressed and proud man who lived at a time when many graduates were arrogant and sought to explore the world based on their understanding of nature.

Readers’ Response

A majority of the readers have been more inquisitive of the motivation that McCandless had and the cause of his death. One school of thought argues that based on the story, it is clear that McCandless lacked the proper mechanisms of saying goodbye to his family because he is stated to have gotten a lift from a truck driver. Another idea underscores the fact that the author adamantly refused to cooperate with anyone and was too proud of himself. As many of the readers have been critical about the lessons that are learned from the book one issue stands out regarding the appropriateness of the reading for its target audience. However, while this is equally important, a notable section the readers have voiced their concern that the book uses a language that is not applicable for the general population especially regarding the minors. Through a site solely selected for teenagers lower than seventeen years, it became apparent that the book was perceived differently by others who thought that the language was not appropriate (Common Sense and Common Sense Media). Instead, the critiques argued that the language use should be more considerate for teenagers because a majority of the intended population are the adolescents and college students who desire to be independent after graduation. Some have instead argued that focusing on the language use rather than the theme is a poor way of interpreting the book as there are valuable lessons that can be learned through a critical review of the book contents. Many of the respondents have shared in the understanding that the hardships that McCandless took should be perceived as a powerful journey of happiness and joy and that all can share.

The Significance of the Text

Much of why the book ended up becoming New York’s best seller is associated with the teaching that the book epitomizes through the stories that it describes. Through a review of the ratings that many readers have since issued, one can relate the positive implications that the book has had based on the positive feedback issued. One notable importance of the book is that it is significant in aiding the understanding of the need for communication in the family and with one’s acquaintances. It is clear that McCandless did not value social capital and human contact because it appears that never thought of sharing his feeling with anyone. Instead, he kept all he thought to himself. It creates the implication of a society that did not create a conducive environment for teenagers to communicate their feelings.

Another key implication that can be drawn from the texts is that many of the respondents have been inspired by the lessons learned about the challenge of being too arrogant. It is clear that McCandless was primarily motivated by the fact that he was a graduate and who opted to explore the world in his style devoid of external advice. The character was also too arrogant that he could not open up to the other members of the family because he thought they would think bad of him. Instead, he decided to burn all the money he had and donated his savings while knowing that he could not manage the life in the wilderness by relying on nature as he had not attempted the feat previously. Overall, the book is important to those who have accomplished so much that they get over themselves and believe that they are capable of managing everything else in the world. As it turned out, such assumptions built on pride can lead one to make rush decisions that would be costly and even lead to death as it happened for McCandless.

The reader should also pay attention to the text because it is a classic book that underscores the need for people to be self-appreciative and thankful for what they have rather than wish to accomplish what is beyond they reach. A respondent concerned about the lack of humanity’s ability to be thankful of what they own and their achievements thinks that McCandless was too selfish and foolish that he did not care about others but on his desires (Medred). The response is significant because it helps the reader to realize that McCandless had a degree, had enough money in his savings, had a car, but still was not satisfied with his achievements that he went into a dangerous mission explore nature. Instead, he wanted to achieve his own desires regardless of what his parents wished for him, which turned out to be a poor choice. A closer review of the events that turned out shows that the idea of eating berries in the wilderness while he could afford enough meals using his finances implies that human beings should be more thankful for what they have and not yearn for the non-existent.


In summary, it is clear that the book “In The Wild” is significant in the manner in which it communicates to the audience. While some have been concerned that the book may not have used the proper language, it is clear that the setting of the incidences is important for today’s generation. The depiction of McCandles as an arrogant and selfish person enables the reader to appreciate the need for communication in the domestic setting, appreciating one’s possessions, and seeking counsel in the case of life-threatening decisions.

Works Cited

Common Sense and Common Sense Media. “Into the Wild.” Common Sense Media (2017): n. pag. Web.

Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. United States: Villard, 1995. Print.

Medred, Craig. “The Fiction That Is Jon Krakauer’s ‘Into The Wild.’” (2016): n. pag. Web.

Read, Adam. “Into the Wild Book.” Christopher McCandless. N.p., 2011. Web.

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