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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. According to Jon Krakauer, Chris McCandless died as a result of "one or two seemingly insignificant blunders." What were those blunders and how could Chris have avoided them? Discuss the kinds of preparations that someone planning to live in the bush should take before setting out.

2. Who are "Rubber Tramps" and "Leather Tramps"? Describe their way of life. Discuss the pros and cons of a vagabond lifestyle.

3. Consider the various accounts of experiments similar to McCandless's that Krakauer relates. Discuss the kinds of idealism or alienation that lead these young people to abandon past lives and lead potentially dangerous existence.

4. Choose someone who has attempted to live in the wild the way McCandless did and research that person's experiences. Write a short biography about their adventures and the lessons they may have learned.

5. Krakauer seems unwilling to judge either McCandless or any of the people who were involved in his life. Many people have either praised or condemned McCandless for his foolhardiness or Krakauer for his sympathetic approach to telling this story without making judgements. How would you defend or criticize the author's refusal to claim a position?

6. There are instances in this book where Krakauer introduces autobiographical material and suggests that his own experiences influence his perspective. Discuss an episode from your own life where your feelings about past experiences may have influenced your judgment or understanding of someone...

(The entire section is 354 words.)