"McCandless was thrilled to it is in on his means north, and also he was relieved together well—relieved the he had actually again evaded the unavoidable threat of human intimacy, of friendship, and all the messy emotionally baggage the comes v it. He had fled the claustrophobic confines of his family. He’d successfully kept january Burres and Wayne Westerberg at arm’s length, flitting out of their lives prior to anything was intended of him. And now the slipped painlessly out of Ron Franz’s life together well."

Into the Wild, 55

This passage illuminates McCandless’s deep troubles with intimacy, which are very main in his eventually fatal two-year quest for an interpretation and peace. Throughout these 2 years, McCandless doesn’t contact his sister, v whom the was very close, and also while the meets numerous people and becomes close come a few, he always makes certain to preserve a particular distance.

In this passage, he is simply leaving Ron Franz, who spends the next year or so wait for his return, living by his tenets, when McCandless ignores the responsibilities and bonds the intimacy by going into the wilderness, whereby he only has himself to account to. In enabling himself come forget about the responsibilities one has in any kind of close relationships, he ignores the harm done come those that love him once he threats his safety and his life.

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“Please return every mail I get to the sender. It could be a very long time before I return South. If this adventure proves fatal and also you don’t ever hear from me again, I desire you to recognize you’re a good man. I currently walk right into the wild.”

Into the Wild, 69

This passage is composed of McCandless’s very own words, written on his critical postcard come Wayne Westerberg before he goes right into the Alaskan wilderness. The reality that he acknowledges the opportunity that he might not survive has been used as proof that his trek to be suicidal in intent, however this seems extremely unlikely. Instead, this acknowledgment that the risk, and of what is important at stake, reflects that his arrogance and hubris space not as too much as many imagine—he go not desire to die, yet he knows very well the he is embarking top top a attention adventure, and that his margin because that error is really slight. The feels this is precious it, however, for the real experience the living fully independently and freely, and his excitement have the right to be checked out in the final, terse sentence that his postcard to Westerberg.

“A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the rise becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by prefer minutes. The built up clutter that day-to-day existence—the lapses the conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the unpreventable prison of her genes—all of that is in the interim forgotten, overfilled from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity that purpose and also by the seriousness the the job at hand.”

Into the Wild, 142-143

This passage defines Krakauer’s feelings while climbing the Devils Thumb, and is, essentially, his explanation the the allure of mountain climbing, or the high-risk activities in general. It i do not care clear, here, the it serves together a type of escapism, for him at least. The intense emphasis required to make it through such activities means that the mundane difficulties of daily life cannot intrude, and also Krakauer have the right to reach a type of meditative state.

McCandless’s treks room also clearly escapism on part level. He seems to be trying come escape from the responsibilities and bonds of human relationships; through going right into the wild, alone, through no means to call the external world, and also by having actually to focus his full attention on maintaining himself alive, he cannot be called on to get involved in relationships v those who care most about him.

“Seven weeks ~ the body of his son turned increase in Alaska covering in a blue resting bag that Billie had sewn for chris from a kit, Walt researches a sailboat scudding beneath the home window of his waterfront townhouse. ‘How is it,’ he marvels aloud as he gazes blankly across Chesapeake Bay, ‘that a kid with so much compassion could cause his parents so lot pain?’”

Into the Wild, 103-104

This i is emblematic of the trouble at the core of McCandless’s story. Native what Krakauer learns around him, he seems to have actually been a deep compassionate person, and also a significant part the his two-year search was fueled by his sense of unjust at how selfishly and also greedily many Americans lived. His risky habits over this time is, however, deep selfish, in that it reasons pain to all those that love him, and also especially his family, that for 2 years carry out not also know if the is alive. And also indeed, this is not simply a side result of his quest, but component of the aim—he explicitly wanted to cut his parents out of his life, and also his anger in ~ them appears to have been a big part of the source of his have to be constantly on the move. And thus the inquiry that Walt McCandless poses in this passage, and which Krakauer tries come find solution to throughout the book—how could such a caring, compassionate person act for this reason selfishly?

“It is easy, once you room young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what friend deserve, come assume that if you desire something bad enough, the is your God-given appropriate to have actually it. As soon as I made decision to go to Alaska the April, prefer Chris McCandless, i was a raw youth that mistook passion for insight and also acted according to one obscure, gap-ridden logic. I assumed climbing the Devils thumb would fix all the was wrong through my life. In the end, of course, it adjusted almost nothing. However I came to appreciate that mountains make negative receptacles for dreams. And I lived to tell my tale.”

Into the Wild, 155

This passage is illustrative of Krakauer’s feelings around McCandless. That does no think McCandless is so naïve or arrogant as many, particularly in Alaska, do, but he does view that he to be young, and also had many of the usual misperceptions the the young, and claims the that was really his main flaw. The implication of this i is that, had actually McCandless survived, he most likely would have finished up maturing—learning to be close come people, to pardon flaws in those that loved, to communicate with society and the human being in less excessive ways. Due to the fact that he dies, however—which is definitely not any an ext deserved than if Krakauer had on Devils Thumb—he will certainly never have that opportunity, and also instead is blamed because that his ignorance and hubris.

“Two year he to walk the earth, no phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Can be fried freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose house is the road. Escaped indigenous Atlanta. You shalt not return, ‘cause “the West is the best.” and now after 2 rambling years comes the final and also greatest adventure, the climactic fight to death the false gift within and victoriously conclude the spirituality revolution. Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitchhiking lug him come the an excellent white North. No much longer to it is in poisoned by human being he flees, and also walks alone upon the floor to become lost in the wild. – Alexander Supertramp, may 1992.”

Into the Wild, 163

This i shows how McCandless feels about his journey so far, best after that walks into the wilderness. That is clearly proud the himself, and also proud of what he has actually accomplished, and deeply excited because that the Alaskan “greatest adventure.” It likewise shows, however, the he most likely intends to rejoin civilization, also though he explains it as poisonous, for he phone call this his “final” adventure, which will “conclude the spirituality revolution.”

And though he writes "Thou shalt not return", the implication is no that he is walking right into the wilderness come die, but that he will certainly not go back to the east (since over his two-year journey he has actually fallen deeply in love through the American West). Finally, the passage shows exactly how intertwined his need for independence and also freedom is through his inability to let civilization too close, as he likens his entrance right into the wilderness come fleeing and emphasizes that he is alone, and also that only now can he reap “Ultimate freedom.”

“As she research studies the pictures, she breaks down from time come time, weeping as just a mother who has outlived a child can weep, betraying a sense of lose so large and irreparable that the mind balks at taking its measure. Together bereavement, observed at near range, makes also the most eloquent apologia for high-risk tasks ring fatuous and hollow.”

Into the Wild, 132

This passage, around Billie McCandless after ~ Chris’s death, emphasizes the no matter exactly how well-intentioned kris may have been, his habits was deep cruel to his parents and also family. The i is likewise interesting due to the fact that of the meta-commentary it offers. Over the food of the book, Krakauer’s check out of McCandless is mainly forgiving, and Krakauer absolutely understands the allure the high-risk tasks held for him. Yet here he acknowledges that in the confront of a parent’s devastation native the ns of a son, the is very daunting to protect McCandless’s behavior, no matter just how well-intentioned or essential it appeared to him in ~ the time, for this reason implying the Into the Wild chin cannot safeguard McCandless as soon as it pertains to the ache his parental suffer.

“Roman, Andrew, and I stay up well previous midnight, trying come make sense of McCandless’s life and also death, yet his significance remains slippery, vague, elusive.”

Into the Wild, 186

This sentence is representative of among the far-reaching themes that the book—that the is impossible to ever before really know one more person’s story, what drives them, just how they finish up whereby they do, etc., and that this is a trouble inherent in biography. It looms also larger over this details biography since McCandless has actually died, and has left a relatively elusive trail. His newspaper are mainly only descriptions of events and also foods, and also there spans practically a whole year throughout which he doesn’t leave any type of documentation. Krakauer does every he have the right to to “make sense of McCandless’s life and also death,” and he ultimately seems come come an extremely close; yet a true, full understanding stays impossible.

“"I guess I just can’t assist identifying v the guy,’ Roman allows as the pokes the coals v a stick. ‘I hate to recognize it, but not so numerous years ago it could easily have been me in the very same kind of predicament. Once I first started comes to Alaska, i think i was most likely a lot like McCandless: just as green, just as eager. And I’m certain there are plenty of various other Alaskans who had a many in common with McCandless when they first got here, too, including numerous of his critics. I beg your pardon is possibly why castle so tough on him. Perhaps McCandless reminds lock a tiny too lot of their previous selves.’”

Into the Wild, 186

This i again emphasizes the it was McCandless’s death—caused by an chaste mistake though it might have been—that has made so numerous Alaskans look under upon him. Krakauer’s friend roman inn is famous for having achieved a similarly dangerous and also perhaps rather misguided feat, however had he passed away he would have likely been seen as McCandless now is. And Roman makes the point that this fury is probably due to the fact that he is no the only one who sees self in McCandless. By reminding world who either have or who provided to have similar tendencies just exactly how much is in ~ stake once they indulge in risky behavior, McCandless essentially is a reminder the their own mortality.

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“It is hardly inexplicable for a young male to be drawn to a pursuit considered reckless through his elders; engaging in risky behavior is a rite of passage in our culture no less than in most others. Danger has always held a details allure. That, in large part, is why for this reason many adolescents drive as well fast and also drink as well much and take too many drugs, why it has constantly been so simple for countries to recruit young guys to go to war. It have the right to be said that youthful derring-do is in fact evolutionarily adaptive, a actions encoded in ours genes. McCandless, in his fashion, just took risk-taking to its reasonable extreme.”


This i underscores the McCandless’s behavior is not fully unique or unusual. Though he obviously stays in a method that very few do, and specifically very few who thrive up v the avenues he has, the driving force behind his behavior is no unusual. This additionally reflects the idea that, had he survived, that would have been looked upon with admiration, likely, and would have actually been thought about a human who had completed something impressive. Since he died, however, many have vilified him, and have seen in his daring just arrogance and also stupidity, once in fact it was probably mostly influenced by his youth.

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