How do the journal entries in the last few chapters of Into the Wild affect Krakauer's opinion of Chris McCandless?
Krakauer developed the book in a non-linear fashion, but focuses the last few chapters on Chris's last months in Alaska. He includes Chris's personal journal entries to help both himself and the reader better understand Chris's motivations and ideals. For example, when Chris attempted to hike out of the wilderness, he was faced with a flooded river and wrote:
"Disaster. .. . Rained in. River look impossible. Lonely, scared." He concluded, correctly, that he would probably be swept to his death if he attempted to cross the Teklanika at that place, in those conditions. It would be suicidal; it was simply not an option.
If McCandless had walked a mile or so upstream, he would have discovered that the river broadened into a maze of braided channels.
(Krakaur, Into the Wild, amazon.com)
This shows how Chris did not fully prepare for his final destination. He brought no map of the area, and was unaware of other options for survival. Despite this, Krakauer shows Chris in a sympathetic light; other detractors have interpreted Chris's actions as being a sort of long-term suicide, but Krakauer concludes that Chris was simply too focused on his own journey to think ahead about possible necessities. Including these journal entries allows the reader to understand some of Chris's thinking from within, as well as showing why Krakauer has come to his conclusions. Each entry reveals some more of Chris's internal motivation, and Krakauer ultimately interprets these in a positive light.