Home/Essays Examples/Literature/Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

The novel, “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer is about Chris McCandless and his journey with tragic death. The novel opens with Jim Gallien who is driving through Alaska and meets Alex who came from South Dakota. Alex informed him that he plans to live in Denali National Park for few months, but Gallien realizes Alex’s mistakes and informs him that it is not safe to live in Alaskan outdoors hence he should change his mind. Gallien also offers to help him out with money and gave his contact number to Alex, if he stays alive. Soon in the second chapter some people including Ken Thompson, Gordon Samuel, and Ferdie Swanson found dead body of Chris in a broken bus. Police retrieves the body of Chris from bus and autopsy showed that he starved to death.

Krakauer now investigates cause of his death by meeting every individual he met during his Journey. The first person Krakauer meet is Wayne Westerberg, who knew Chris as “Alex” before his death. Westerberg inform that Chris would do things that others will not do, very unsual things, no matter how it will affect his life. He worked for Westerberg for a while and he was very hardworking and intelligent. He used to do hitchhiking even with poor equipment hence endangering his life. Chris enjoyed life in South Dakota with Westerberg, hence when he departed from there he would tell everyone that he’s from South Dakota. He was actually from Annandale, Virginia. After graduating from Emory University he drove away in his Datsun for Journey towards West, without even telling his family & friends.

Krakauer tries to relate events in Chris’ life and what led to his death. Initial chapters start with his corpse found in a broken bus, followed by a constructive story by the author to relate his death with some of his habits and characters described by his friends. His dead corpse was found on September 6, 1992.

His Datsun was found abandoned by Bud Walsh, a Park Ranger, at Lake Mead National Recreation. Krakauer research showed that he was driving on a prohibited road and due to flash floods his car battery died hence he abandoned the car. His driver’s license and car registration both were expired, and he didn’t have any insurance. For some time he worked on Crazy Ernie’s farm but left soon when he realized he’ll not get any payment. Later he met Jan Burres and her boyfriend Bob and developed friendship with them on short terms. He spent all his savings in charity. He navigated the canals of Colorado and Mexico and had to spend one night in Jail when caught while going back to US without his ID.

In May 1991, he stayed for some time in California and Bull Head city of Arizona. According to his friends, he was hardworking, careless, and quirky. After he left Arizona, he came back to Nitland to stay with Jan and Bod for short visit but soon left. He went to California and there he met Ron Frantz and soon develops friendship with him. He also had a ride to Oh-My-God Hotsprings camp of Frantz. He left for Seatle but then returned to California and met Frantz again. Later he left for South Dakota to meet Westerberg; however, none had any traces what happened to his family, whether he met them again or not. Till chapter 7th Novel introduces readers to his character and some of his friends he met during his travel. He would occasionally send postcards to his friends about his journey. However, no clues are given about his family.

Reference

Jon Krakauer. Into the Wild. Published 1996.