What Is a Summary of "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer?


Quick Answer

Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild" is an account of young Emory graduate Christopher McCandless, who ventured into the Alaskan tundra in search of meaning. He was found dead at age 24 in an abandoned bus in the wilderness.

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Full Answer

After graduating from college, Christopher McCandless gives away his $25,000 in savings and spends two years roaming the country. Inspired by transcendentalism and figures such as Jack London and Thoreau, he eventually decides to go to Alaska to live off the land. First, he sells his car, renames himself "Alexander Supertramp" and heads to South Dakota where he learns hunting and gathering techniques. He meets several interesting characters on his travels, including Jim Gallien, whom McCandless hitchhikes with to Mount McKinley. Gallien warns McCandless not to go but, sensing his determination, gives him supplies and warm boots.

McCandless is successful at first, although malnourished, but he eventually dies from either poisoned or moldy berries. McCandless, realizing his fate, writes a good-bye note. In July,1992, moose hunters find his body on a cot in an abandoned bus.

The book chronicles McCandless's journey through his diaries, postcards and photography. It also includes reflections by Krakauer on his own life and interviews with McCandless's family and friends. The book was released in 2006 to critical acclaim.

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