When I first read Into the Wild, I wondered why Krakauer was starting with an event so close to McCandless's death. But after finishing the book, I could see how Gallien's brief encounter of McCandless mirrors the overall reader's experience (at least mine anyway).
When Gallien first meets McCandless, Gallien's opinion of him is rather low. He thinks that McCandless is another "one of those crackpots from the lower forty-eight who come north to live out ill-considered Jack London fantasies." In other words, Gallien thinks that McCandless is a naive and foolish visitor to Alaska. The gear that McCandless has with him supports Gallien's theory as well.
Alex’s backpack looked as though it weighed only twenty-five or thirty pounds, which struck Gallien — an accomplished hunter and woodsman — as an improbably light load for a stay of several months in the back-country, especially so early in the spring. “He wasn’t carrying anywhere near as much food and gear as...
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