What would be a good thesis for Into the Wild?

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Into the Wildgrew out of a popular article Jon Krakauer wrote about Chris McCandless's death for Outside Magazine. The article started a controversy, as some argued that Chris was a fool who went into the Alaskan wilderness unprepared and therefore deserved to die. Others defended Chris as a visionary...

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Into the Wild grew out of a popular article Jon Krakauer wrote about Chris McCandless's death for Outside Magazine. The article started a controversy, as some argued that Chris was a fool who went into the Alaskan wilderness unprepared and therefore deserved to die. Others defended Chris as a visionary who planned his trip, was aware of what he was doing, and died due to an unfortunate series of circumstances.

Krakauer comes down on the side of Chris as a visionary who do not want to die and who was not a fool, though he did make some mistakes. Krakauer states in the book that he identifies with Chris, and he paints a sympathetic portrait of Chris.

A thesis therefore would argue one way or the other about Chris's final adventure. Was Chris a visionary, or was he foolish in heading to the Alaska wilds as he did? Do you sympathize with him or not? Since Krakauer strongly defends Chris, you might want to argue that Chris made some foolish mistakes. You might focus on the writers, like Thoreau and Tolstoy, who influenced him, and note how they were more cautious in their search for a simpler life. You could argue that if he had followed more closely in Thoreau's footsteps, he might be alive today.

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One of the strongest themes of this story is that idea that individual freedom cannot exist outside of one's involvement in society. In other words, one cannot remove oneself from the society of other humans or the structures of society in order to discover oneself, because it is our engagement with others and our place within the structure of society that helps define who we are. The fate of the protagonist could also be seen as a commentary on the effort to be at one with nature and how this is impossible to achieve in the modern world, because we have become too accustomed to surviving within a world of human conveniences, luxuries, tools and structures.  

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