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Into the wildliterature

Into the Wild

An on Into the Wild contains many possible topics. In John Krakauer's "Author's Note" preceding the text of his book "Into the Wild," he says that he has tried to minimize his authorial presence and that he believes he has "largely succeeded." The author may have minimized his presence as much as possible, but nonetheless his presence is continually felt by the reader, and is overt in some places. Given the circumstances by which Krakauer was able to write "Into the Wild," this noticeable authorial presence was probably inevitable.

Some possible topics on Into the Wild include the following:

  • Write a philosophical examination as to whether or not McCandless was justified in disappearing to his family.
  • Research others that have gone "into the wild" and compare their experiences with McCandless'.
  • Research what McCandless could have done differently to save his life.

To start with, the subject of the book was a young man named Chris McCandless who died mysteriously in the Alaskan wilderness. He died of a combination of starvation and exposure. But the specifics of how he came to the point of dying like this are unknown. Since he did survive in the wilderness for a number of weeks, his death raises the question of why he died when he did. Since McCandless was not available to tell his own story, Krakauer had to write the story from interviews with persons who encountered him in the weeks and months preceding his death and surviving relatives. Selecting appropriate material from these interviews trying to piece together the last days of McCandless and his intentions and motives for going in the wilderness on his own required some guiding principles on the part of Krakauer. Whatever principles he relied on gave a certain slant to the material of the book which reveal the author's own interest in the story and understanding of its important elements. This is inevitable in any book. But in a book whose main subject, in this case McCandless, cannot speak for himself. The author has to assume an even larger role in selecting, editing, and writing the contents of the book.

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