In the book Into the Wild, what are the themes and symbols?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The author of Into the Wild states in his introduction that, "in trying to understand McCandless, I inevitably came to reflect on other, larger subjects as well: the grip Wilderness has on the American imagination, the allure high risk activities hold for young men of a certain mind, the complicated,...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The author of Into the Wild states in his introduction that, "in trying to understand McCandless, I inevitably came to reflect on other, larger subjects as well: the grip Wilderness has on the American imagination, the allure high risk activities hold for young men of a certain mind, the complicated, highly charged bond that exists between fathers and sons."

I believe the author is implying that the book addresses these themes.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One significant theme in Into the Wild is the deep and secret alienation that Chris felt for his parents. He was very angry at him, although his complaints are clear. The reader knows he's angry, but isn't sure why. We see from this relationship the different standard of morals that Chris had for his family and his friends. He was much more lenient towards his friends, forgiving them for things which he would never forgive his father for.

Another theme was Chris' desire for exploration and explanation. Chris wanted to travel because he wanted to find out about mankind. However, so stubborn was Chris that he did things his way, and didn't listen to the preparations he was told to undertake. Chris had a problem taking advice, either from the experts or his friends/family.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team