What are some quotes from Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer that prove that Chris McCandless is a pilgrim? 

What are some quotes from Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer that prove that Chris McCandless is a pilgrim?


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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can't prove that he is a pilgrim, but I can give some supporting quotes to that concept.  About halfway through the book, author John Krakauer contemplates the mystery that is Chris McCandless.  He writes the following quote:

McCandless was something else—although precisely what is hard to say. A pilgrim, perhaps.

Krakauer then weaves in further hints that McCandless is a pilgrim or very much like historical figures that were pilgrims.  Take this one for example:

His ambivalence toward sex echoes that of celebrated others who embraced wilderness with single-minded passion—Thoreau (who was a lifelong virgin) and the naturalist John Muir, most prominently— to say nothing of countless lesser-known pilgrims, seekers, misfits, and adventurers.

The above quote explicitly links McCandless with other wilderness pioneers/pilgrims.  Thoreau and Muir weren't anti-society, but they most definitely found an inner peace by existing in harmony with nature and the land.  They found it spiritual, and that is what McCandless felt as well.  The following quote is from McCandless in his letter to Ronald Franz.  

The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.

Another quote that shows Krakauer directly linking McCandless with pilgrims is the following quote from Paul Shepherd.  

To the desert go prophets and hermits; through deserts go pilgrims and exiles.

At the time the quote appears in the book, the quote doesn't seem to apply to McCandless; however, at the end of Chapter Four, it is obvious that McCandless is the desert pilgrim that the quote speaks about.  

Read the study guide:
Into the Wild

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