Into the Wild

25. Toward the end of Chapter 16, Krakauer tells us that McCandless read Walden. You may want to take a look at Thoreau’s text and figure out what Chris found most interesting in Thoreau’s discussion of food.

Annotaing Chapters 16-18

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Chris found Thoreau's take on the morality of hunting and eating food most interesting. He was not satisfied by the meat and was sickened by the waste. Thus, he gained a distinct appreciation for natural foods and feeding the mind rather than the body. He ate to sustain himself..... and that was all.

Shortly after the moose episode McCandless began to read Thoreau’s Walden. In the chapter titled “Higher Laws,” in which Thoreau ruminates on the morality of eating, McCandless highlighted, “when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to.” “THE MOOSE,” McCandless wrote in the margin. And in the same passage he marked,

The repugnance to animal food is not the effect of experience, but is an instinct. It appeared more beautiful to live low and fare hard in many respects; and though I never did so, I went far enough to please my imagination. I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food, and from much food of any kind.... It is hard to provide and cook so simple and clean a diet as will not offend the imagination; but this, I think, is to be fed when we feed the body; they should both sit down at the same table. Yet perhaps this may be done. The fruits eaten temperately need not make us ashamed of our appetites, nor interrupt the worthiest pursuits. But put an extra condiment into your dish, and it will poison you.


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