Krakauer observes that it is not unusual for a young man to be drawn to a pursuit considered reckless by his elders. Identify an example from chapter 17 of Into the Wild where McCandless...

Krakauer observes that it is not unusual for a young man to be drawn to a pursuit considered reckless by his elders. Identify an example from chapter 17 of Into the Wild where McCandless exemplifies this observation.

 

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Recklessness can be thought of in terms of both what you do and how you do it. On the "how", for example, driving to the store under the speed limit on major roads in good weather is not reckless, but getting drunk and then driving very fast on icy roads in the dark is reckless. Extreme sports or solo wilderness travel are by their nature dangerous. This means that most people who do them (especially those who survive doing them for many years) take an extremely cautious, almost scientific, approach to planning and execution. 

First, this includes building up skills on shorter trips, especially navigation skills using topographic maps, compasses, and altimeters. Next, one gradually adjusts one's gear to suit the environment and learns how to create safe, comfortable campsites protected from the weather. Most people involved in extreme wilderness travel carry satellite phones for emergencies. 

McCandless did none of these things. Most important to the material discussed in Chapter 17, he did not have a good map or compass nor even the basic common sense needed to follow a river downstream to find a good spot to ford. Thus he chose what is a dangerous activity and rather than minimize the dangers by learning the necessary skills and having the correct equipment, he went about his journey into the wild in a reckless manner. 

rareynolds eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 17, Krakauer returns to visit the scene of McCandless's death. There is plenty of evidence of McCandless's "recklessness" -- that he travelled without a map, for one. If he had had a map it would have been relatively easy for him to cross the river, since he would have known about the cable across the river just a few hundred yards away. Another possibly reckless action was not bringing a large caliber rifle, or compass, or axe. Krakauer compares McCandless to the British arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, who perished with the rest of his expedition in 1845. Whereas Franklin "attempted to insulate himself from the northern environment with ill-suited military tools," McCandless "went too far in the opposite direction...[trying] to live entirely off the country...without bothering to learn beforehand the full repertoire of crucial skills." (pp 181-2) If McCandless was reckless, or arrogant, or simply incompetent, Krakauer suggests that he did what he did out of a real need, something that perhaps others cannot ever understand.

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Into the Wild

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