What is the theme of the book "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this humorous and informative narrative, Bill Bryson recounts his adventures with his friend, Stephen Katz, as they attempt to backpack the formidable Appalachian Trail.  They have a hard time of it, and eventually give up, but along the way have a lot of funny and painful adventures, and gain an appreciation for nature.

There are several possible themes for this book.  Although Bryson spends a lot of time humorously recounting their adventures, he gets serious when he talks about nature, its beauty, and mankind's negative impact on the world around him.  He discusses how people are overrunning nature, and how they are changing the face of some of the world's most ancient forests as a result of it. So, there is a strong environmentalist theme to the book, one of respecting nature, being kind to the environment, and how mankind can often be disrpectful and harmful when it comes to the earth.  Another theme is that of friendship; Katz and Bryson forge an unusual bond during their adventures, and make it through some trying times together.  They often push each other onward and help each other out.  So that is another possible theme of the book.  He also forms temporary friendships with people on the trail, and comments on how walking the trail tends to bind people together and helps them to open up and be more kind and giving.  So, nature's impact on mankind--making them more appreciate, humble, and friendly, is another possible theme to the book.

If you haven't read the book already, I recommend it; it's an interesting and entertaining look at the adventures of a couple pretty funny guys. I hope that these thoughts helped--good luck!