Into the Wild Questions and Answers
by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the message and purpose of Into the Wild? im trying to write a paper about it  

Expert Answers info

Octavia Cordell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write1,088 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

One theme to consider is the idea of wilderness itself, and what “wildness” is. One way to understand McCandless’s story is to think of it as a pursuit of a particular notion of “wildness.” In my view, McCandless’ desire to get ”out there” had less to do with wildness than a desire to be free of emotional entanglements. In this sense, the “wild” is defined not by anything it is but what it lacks: the absence of humans or human development. Even in his solitude, McCandless was still (by his absence) in relation to others.

Another aspect of this line of thinking involves McCandless’s hubris and privilege. Not only is he able to do what he does because he is a white male (think, for instance, about the police who help him instead of jailing him on his attempt to kayak to the Gulf of California), but he assumes that he will be able to “figure out” how to live on his own by doing enough research. Ironically, it is misunderstanding what he has read that ultimately...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 719 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write10,929 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

rugator eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write64 answers

starTop subject is Literature

check Approved by eNotes Editorial