Is Into the Wild a novel? I have to write an analysis for this book, but when I begin to talk about it, I don't know if I should call it just a book or a novel.

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Alysha VonRueden eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Contrary to the previous posts, John Krakauer's Into the Wild is NOT a novel; it is a journalistic work of non-fiction. If you wanted to pin it down to a particular genre, it is classified as a travel essay. Novels are works of fiction; this book is certainly not fiction.

In this work, Jon Krakauer has researched the history and background of the real person Chris McCandless and traces his travels, first to the American southwest and then into Alaska. Throughout the work, Krakauer examines the facts of McCandless's life and analyzes the circumstances and motivations that may have led him to abandon his family and his money in search of spiritual freedom.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild is most definitely a novel. It tells the story of Christopher Johnson McCandless, a young college graduate who decides to give away his material possessions and travel the backroads of North America. Shortly, after leaving Atlanta's Emory University, McCandless embarks on his wayfaring journey. He has little money along the way, and people that he meets along the way provide sustenance and friendship. Inspired by writers such as Jack London and Henry Thoreau, McCandless adapts a new name--Alexander Supertramp--in his quest to begin a new life. McCandless meets his end in the wilds of Alaska, where he becomes stranded and eventually dies of starvation.

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sealman8 | Student

It definitely is a novel...

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lsgirl | Student

Into the Wild is a novel by Jon Krakauer.

The book depicts the two-year wilderness trek of Christopher McCandless from 1990 through 1992. The book was adapted into a 2007 movie as well.

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robford | Student

First, novels are books, but all books aren't necessarily novels. They are also narratives, which mean they tell a story, but some nonfiction works tell a story, also. The essential difference is that a novel is a work of fiction as opposed to non-fiction.I believe the reason you may be confused with this issue is due to the fact that there exists both a film version directed by Sean Penn in 2007 and the original novel, entitled, “Into the Wild”. The novel, and yes it is a novel, that Krakauer’s penned, focused on the life of young Christopher McCandless and his desire to escape from society. and a lifestyle that most people would dream of. McCandless was just entering society, with the support of a loving family he  successfully graduated from Emory University, with more than $24,000 in savings. The main force behind the authors quest in this novel is to secure an answer to the question of why McCandless would completely run away from all that he knew, give away everything he owned, and simply disappear to the bitter, cold Alaskan wilderness to seek out some type of new life.

I hope this helps.


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