Into the Wild Into the Wild question

External Conflict
John F. John Feb 20, 2012 02:13PM
From middle school to present day I have heard about "Into the Wild" from numerous people, but have not read any of it until today. Starting the book, I was met with "I have minimize my authorial presence. But let the reader be warned: I interrupt McCandless's story with fragments of a narrative drawn from my own youth" (Author's Note.) Chris McCandless was a very interesting character to me right off the bat. After he was denied when he tried to give a watch and money to someone who helped him travel, he replied with..."'If you don't take it, I'm going to throw it away.' Alex cheerfully retorted. 'I don't want to know what time it is. I don't want to know what day it is or where I am. None of that matters'" (pg. 7) Other then these interactions with other characters, I felt a void in the connection between Chris and the reader. I wanted to get inside of his head, opposed to Krakauer inserting experiences from his own youth into the story, leaving the reader guessing when this happens. Even Chris's journal entries were written in third person, the closest I felt I could get to McCandless.

I was wondering what everyone thought as to the style of writing, which in my opinion keeps the protagonist of the story just distant enough to the point where the reader yearns to learn more of the freedom and independent hungry individual, apart from conventional society, that Chris McCandless was.

One of my favorite sections of that story was Chris's letter to Ron starting on page 56, encouraging Ron to take on the nomadic lifestyle because "once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty" (pg. 57). This is one of the few parts in the first six chapters where I feel a stronger connection to Chris and his mental approach to the adventurous spirit.

I think inserting his own experiences into the text WAS Krakauer’s way of trying to get more into McCandless’ head. I appreciated his using his own experience to try and show what might make a young person seek out extremes of experience, rather than presuming some special knowledge of McCandless’ motives.

How would you prefer Krakauer had handled things? Do you think the journal and interviews alone would have been a better approach?

who did he say “I don’t want to know what time it is. I don’t want to know what day it is or where I am. None of that matters.” to

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