Into The Wild Essay Examples and Topics

by Jon Krakauer

Essay Examples
Essay Topics
Brief overview

January 13, 1996


Jon Krakauer


Non-fiction book


Biography, adventure, drama

Major Characters

Chris McCandless

Based on

An article called “Death of an Innocent,” published in the Outside in 1993. The article, written by Jon Krakauer, discusses the adventures and death of Christopher McCandless.

Symbols / Motives

Survival, nature, adventure, wilderness, loneliness, asceticism, society


McCandless got inspired to live in the Alaskan wilderness by the writings of Jack London and Henry David Thoreau.


The book explores the two years that Christopher McCandless spent between college graduation and his death. He decided to hitchhike from South Dakota to Alaska. The book explores his adventures and asceticism. Chris survived for 113 days into the wilderness, and he kept a journal with his thoughts and experiences.

Why Is This Topic Important?

McCandless was a rebel against mainstream society. Instead of getting a “normal” job after college graduation, he followed the inner call for enlightenment. He gave up most of his material possessions and took huge risks to survive in the wilderness. His journey makes us question the comfort we enjoy in our society. Can we all find the strength to push the limits and find a more natural state of being?

Main Ideas

A man’s strength to go back to his nature and survive in the tough wilderness.

Key Quotes

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.”
“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
“I think careers are a 20th century invention and I don’t want one.”

Interesting Facts

The non-fiction status of this book was challenged by people who were involved in McCandless’ real experiences. Craig Medred, an Alaskan reporter, blamed the author for inventing many stories to fill in the gaps in McCandless' scarce journal.

Arguments For

Into the Wild is a great story for a young, courageous, intellectually superior character. He challenged “the right way” of living. His adventures make us question: is our way of life too deep into the comfort zone?

Arguments Against

McCandless was an intellectually and athletically gifted person, but his personal heroism got close to arrogance and selfishness.

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