Petra X 's Reviews > Into the Wild

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
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Jan 04, 12

bookshelves: biography-true-story
Read in August, 2008

We are all heroes to ourselves. McCandless was, Krakauer is. This doesn't vary. All that varies is how we define heroism and how much, or how little, we are prepared to do to for that stance.

In order to get people, usually young men, to sacrifice their lives we tell them of those that went before and tell them they were heroes who died for their countries, died for their principles, died even for their dreams. Impractical dreams that are the province of the young. And those who would be heroes never concern themselves with the practical, that is far too mundane, it is for others to take care of those details.

McCandless' dream of heroism was to survive entirely alone and entirely off the land at the ends of the earth. It didn't include the practicality of learning about the wild foods he might forage in that area, or how he might survive in extreme weather conditions, or even exactly where his place of solitude was situated so that when he sought succour at the end, he didn't even know how close it really was.

The final photograph he took of himself is of a wasted face, gaunt but beautiful with the shining eyes of one who has lived his dream and is satisfied. Then he died.

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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

To be fair, he apparently had a plant identification book and encountered a poisonous berry that was similar to an edible one, IIRC.


Mary You have captured the true spirit of this great book Petra. It is one of my favorite.


Petra X Thank you Marzie, that is an amazing compliment.


message 4: by Donna (new)

Donna This book haunted the hell out of me. You have definitely captured the spirit of it.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly But he was still young. He hadn't examined his life yet. An unexamined life is not worth leaving, Socrates almost said.


Petra X Joselito wrote: "But he was still young. He hadn't examined his life yet. An unexamined life is not worth leaving, Socrates almost said."

That was a very clever comment Joselito.


Smellsofbikes I particularly enjoyed his portrayal of what being in a catastrophe is like: how he was so messed up he didn't know who he was talking to.


message 8: by Gayle (new)

Gayle When I read this some time ago, I remember that my first reaction was to wonder how this kid's family truly felt once they learned that he had perished in the pursuit of his "dream" or whatever it was.

This is not a statement about right or wrong, should or shouldn't have; it was just the same feeling I get when families say, "At least he died doing what he loved." Even though I know that is a way of coping with grief, I always get an uneasy feeling.


Petra X Gayle wrote: ""At least he died doing what he loved." Even though I know that is a way of coping with grief, I always get an uneasy feeling. ..."

I think it is also a way of saying that they died in hope, died with at least the joy of achievement rather than pain and despair. That at least it was a 'good' death. I agree it is a way of coping with grief. I don't think I quite understand why you get an uneasy feeling though.


message 10: by Gayle (new)

Gayle "I don't think I quite understand why you get an uneasy feeling though. "

Just me, I guess. I think I'd rather my family say "No, she wasn't ready to die. She had so much more to do!" Since, of course, that's what I would be thinking!
(-:


Petra X I see what you mean.


message 12: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex RIP bro. We will miss you...


message 13: by Cem/Lucky (new)

Cem/Lucky oh my dear, you are absolutely right. i love this book and Chris is just like me. I love his style of writing and thinking and it's wonderful to identify with this awesome guy. I thank you for your opinion and for me it's also a hero. His reaction of leaving his parents was the right one to found himself. Me and my boyfriend Frodo want to find us also and this book inspired us so much.


message 14: by Mila (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mila Lightburst I really have to thank you because I dind't see Chris as a hero. For me, he was just the protagonist of this book, but now I see it differently. Chris as a hero, as the hero of his onw dreams, the hero, who fights for his own freedom. He maybe was careless, but he showes me, that safety is not necessary for happyness. Yes, I'm sure, he was a hero.


Petra X Mila wrote: "I really have to thank you because I dind't see Chris as a hero. For me, he was just the protagonist of this book, but now I see it differently..."

Thank you. We all interpret books in different ways, and that I think is the beauty of reading over watching a film which is really just the director's interpretation of a book.


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