Inot The Wild Essay, Research Paper
Into The Wild
Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer is a compelling story of a young man, Chris McCandless, who had an unforgiving respect of nature and an immeasurable level of unintended recklessness. McCandless harshly reposed a radical change in his life by living in the wild of Alaska. After McCandless graduated from Emory University, with a degree in History and Political Science, his burning desire to compete with nature under extreme circumstances forced him to give up everything that was important to him. He left his family, gave up his dream of going to law school, abandoned his car, and gave twenty five thousand dollars to charity. McCandless changed his way of thinking and living for a soul-testing challenge that resulted in his captivating death.
Shortly after Outside magazine published Krakauer s article entitled Death of An Innocent in 1993, his immense personal aspirations lead him to the scrutiny of McCandless s adventure. Krakauer s deep interest about the circumstances surrounding McCandless’s death and a personal bond he felt with this young man initialized Krakauer s journey to discover some answers.
Jon Krakauer displayed a strong skill of investigation in his novel, Into The Wild. Krakauer displays thorough details about McCandless s life, piecing together letters and interviews with the people McCandless stumbled upon, along with the sporadic journal entry by McCandless himself. Krakauer did a tremendous job researching the history of the Stampede Trail, a trail undertaken by McCandless. He stated, The trail was blazed in the 1930s by a legendary Alaska miner named Earl Pilgrim; it led to antimony claims he’d staked on Stampede Creek, above the Clearwater Fork of the Toklat River.
In 1961, a Fairbanks company, Yutan Construction, won a contract from the new State of Alaska (statehood having been granted just two years earlier) to upgrade the trail, building it into a road on which trucks could haul ore from the mine year-round. (Krakauer 10) Also, he elaborated on the junk bus where McCandless spent his final days. Krakauer talks about how Yutan obtained old rusted junk buses to quarter their construction workers. He researched the history of the third bus that was left to serve a backcountry shelter for hunters and trappers. (Krakauer10)
As Krukauer reported on the mysterious death of McCandless, he tracked down numerous people that McCandless randomly come upon and people he casually chatted with. During the interview with Wayne Westerberg, a close acquaintance, Krakauer examined their conversations, their relationship, and the events that followed their encounter. The information obtained from the interview helped Krakauer piece together the mission of McCandless. At one point during the interview, Westerberg stated, From things he said, you could tell something was wasn t right between him and his family, but I don t like to pry into other people s business, so I never asked about it. Westerberg s quote lead Krakauer and the readers to believe that McCandless felt alienated from his family. Krakauer also spoke with a lady that met McCandless in California, by the name of Jan Burres. She supplied Krakauer with information about McCandless s hunger and the direction that he was headed for next.
Krakauer visited nearly all the sites McCandless visited and this helped Krakauer to better appreciate the land as McCandless did. Visiting the sites that McCandless did also assisted in Krakauer s research. For example, on page 173, Krukauer stated, A year and a week after Chris McCandless decided not to attempt to cross the Teklanika River, I stand there on the opposite bank–the eastern side, the highway side–and gaze into the churning water. I, too, hope to cross the river. I want to visit the bus. I want to see where McCandless died, to better understand why.
Krakauer compared McCandless s experience with other people that were in similar situations. Related cases such as, Everett Ruess is a good example (Krakauer 91). Ruess and McCandless had similar philosophies about life and the wilderness, however, Ruess s journey dates back to the 1930 s. Krakauer researched books that McCandless was interested in to help him better grasp the duty that McCandless felt. For example, the books that McCandless carried with him highlighted excerpts that most resembled him, Krakauer studied the passages and the authors as well.
Krakauer illustrates the story with tales of other lost adventures, as well as his own story and experiences. Krakauer convincingly makes his point of the tragic tale. He searches for the traces of evidence as to the motivation that drove Chris McCandless to leave civilization behind and journey into the secluded Alaskan wilderness. Krakauer does a superb job at researching and investigating Chris McCandless s life mission.