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Salisbury University
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New Student Reader

2008-2009 New Student Reader

New Student Reader


2008-2009 Book

"Into the Wild"


About the Author

   by Jon Krakauer                  

"Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is a bestselling non-fiction book about the adventures of Christopher McCandless. It is an expansion of Krakauer's 9,000-word article, "Death of an Innocent", which appeared in the January 1993 issue of Outside. Krakauer intersperses McCandless's story with a discussion of the wilderness experiences of people such as John Muir and John Menlove Edwards, as well as some of his own adventures. Krakauer first went to Alaska in 1974 and has returned there twenty times since. He spent three years carrying out the background research work for this biography.

The book has been adapted into a movie of the same name directed by Sean Penn with Emile Hirsch starring as McCandless. The film's U.S. release date was September 21, 2007."       

Discussion Questions

  1. What motivated Jon Krakauer to reconstruct the final days of Chris McCandless so meticulously? What was Krakauer hoping to learn about McCandless, about himself, or about American society?
  2. Is Chris McCandless "admirable?" Why or why not?
  3. Pay attention to the various settings of the book. Where does Chris McCandless live at various points in his life? How does he decide where to go and how long to stay? How does each new location affect him?
  4. What philosophy seems to guide Chris McCandless? Does this philosophy change as he grows closer to death?
  5. Explore the role that family and friends played in Chris McCandless' life.
  6. Some people believe Chris McCandless was mentally unstable, though Jon Krakauer rejects that assessment. What do you think based on the evidence Krakauer presents in the book?    
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