What was Jon Krakaeurs purpose for writing Into the Wild?why did he write it? Puurpose? what effect was he trying to give the readers?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Krakaeus is a somewhat eccentric writer but also a very intelligent one. His life shows that he has certain things he sort of obsesses about, and this was one of them: The real-life death of Christopher McCandless, who got lost in the wildnerness in Alaska, and his body was found starved to death.

Prior to writing "Into the Wild" Krakause had written an article called "Death of an Innocent", which is a detailed account (and a bit fictionalized) of what happened when Christopher McCandless left for that hiking trail which ultimately caused his death.

Krakause has always had a theory that McCandless was not starved to death, but poisoned by the "Eskimo potato" which is a vegetable that grows in the wilderness, but which also develops a form of fungus that blocks the digestive track and does not allow nourishment.

Therefore, aside from telling a story that personally touched him, his purpose was to determine what could have happened that day in the trail

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In January 1993, Outside magazine published Krakauer's article about McCandless's death. It became the magazine's most read story ever and sparked a debate about whether McCandless was a visionary or a fool, a tragic hero or a suidical misfit.

Krakauer wrote the book for the pragmatic reason that he knew he had an audience and a publisher, but more deeply, he himself felt a strong identification with McCandless (which he outlines in Chapter 14 of Into the Wild). He felt a desire to do a deeper investigation into the mysteries of MCandless's life and death. Because of the sympathy he felt for McCandless, he hoped to write a sympathetic portrait that could explain the young man to readers as someone deeply driven by a spiritual quest rather than just a reckless youth thinking he could survive in the wilderness without adequate preparation.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The notion of how individuals exist in a state of nature might be a component of the work's essence.  Shedding modern day materialism and reverting back into a state of nature has been something that has fascinated thinkers for quite a while and left its mark on how individuals view themselves and their social order.  Certainly, this can be a part of what the work is about.  The ability to define oneself away from the trapping of the social setting is of vital importance because it goes to the heart of the fundamental question that envelops all of us:  Who am I?  It seems that once this question is brought out, the work's meaning gains in significance and understanding.  In examining the Christopher, we are able to examine a part of our own sense of who we are and what constitutes our very identities.

mkcapen1 | Student

Jon Kraker probably wrote the Book "Into the Wild" because he can rel;ate in many aspects to Chris McChandless.  John is known for his love of the outdoors and the Alaskan wilderness.  Jon also had experience with hiking.  He traveled to Alaska in 1974.  He climbed the Arrigetch Peaks in the Brooks Range.  His primary interests at the time were in writing about nature. 

Jon was not a trained writer.  He transitioned from writing about nature to writing about other topics because he was aware that he could not make a living in his field unless he ventured out.  He developed an obsession about Chris McCandless after hearing his story.  He went in search to find out more about Chris.  He has developed a friendship with Chris' parents and continues to lecture and shows slides of Chris.  He said in an interview about his relationship with Chris whom he had never met:

"I identify with him a lot, and it's a sad story. I went back to the bus for the third time last September. I've become quite good friends with his family, we have sort of this weird bond."


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Into the Wild

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