Into the Wild

Chapters 16-18: Into the Alaskan Wild

After a long detour, Krakauer brings us back to the scenes of McCandless's death, What does Krakauer discuss in these chapters that he did not discuss in the previous chapters? Why did he delay presenting this information?

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We are given more detail about his time alone in Alaska. 

he is ecstatic to be alone in the wilderness. The day to day effort of trying to find food and stay alive quickly sets in, however, and the reality of living this extreme way takes away from the romance of it. His notebook is almost exclusively about what he ate every day, for the effort to stay alive is so all consuming that there is little time for contemplating the serenity, for philosophizing on the wilderness. The difference between this, and for example, the writing of Jack London which he loves so much, shows that there is much more room for romance in literature than in reality. There is also a certain irony in this difference, especially as Jack London himself barely spent any time in the wild.

McCandless does seem to undergo some changes, though, beyond the physical losing weight. He is devastated when he kills a moose and then has to essentially waste all of it because he can’t preserve it successfully, yet he fairly quickly realizes that he has to let this disappointment go, which is a new and more mature reaction from the intensely passionate man. Similarly, his original plan is to spend the time in the wilderness on the move, perhaps hiking almost five hundred miles, but when after a week or two of trying to move every day, he realizes this is much more difficult and slow going than he expected, he heads back to the bus, and doesn’t seem nearly as upset with having to give up or change his plans as he would’ve been in the past, for example, with his Mexico trip. Although these are fairly small examples, they hint at McCandless becoming a more dynamic character, capable of learning, growing and changing.