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Course Hero. "Into the Wild Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 Nov. 2016. Web. 16 Nov. 2018. <>.

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(Course Hero, 2016)



Course Hero. "Into the Wild Study Guide." November 28, 2016. Accessed November 16, 2018.


Course Hero, "Into the Wild Study Guide," November 28, 2016, accessed November 16, 2018,

Into the Wild | Quotes


I thought he'd probably get hungry pretty quick and just walk out to the highway.

Jim Gallien, Chapter 1

Gallien relates his thinking after he dropped McCandless off on the Stampede Trail to explain why he didn't stop by the Alaskan troopers' post he passed and tell them about the hitchhiker's plan. His comment is also a sad reminder that McCandless did exactly the opposite of what Gallien considered logical behavior by remaining in Bus 142 and likely dying of starvation there.


They will think they have bought my respect.

Chris McCandless, Chapter 3

McCandless expressed this thought in a letter to Carine. He was angry that his parents wanted to buy him a car when they knew how much he loved his Datsun; he felt manipulated by them. To him their gifts would have come with expectations that he didn't want to meet.


No longer would he answer to Chris McCandless; he was now Alexander Supertramp, master of his own destiny.

Jon Krakauer, Chapter 3

McCandless was so convinced he could start over on his own terms away from his family that he changed his name to Alexander Supertramp, a fanciful, poetic choice that celebrated his "new life" of freedom on the road.


And he was big-time hungry. Hungry, hungry, hungry.

Jan Burres, Chapter 4

Jan Burres describes McCandless's physical hunger, a persistent issue for someone on the road living a hand-to-mouth existence. He was also hungry in a different way: for experiencing life and living out his ideals.


My days were more exciting when I was penniless and had to forage around for my next meal.

Chris McCandless, Chapter 4

McCandless wrote a letter to Westerberg, explaining that although he appreciated the money he earned working for him, and that he did need it, his travels were much more exhilarating when he didn't know where, when, or how he would get his next meal because it challenged his capacity for self-reliance.


It is ... the great triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found.

Chris McCandless, Chapter 4

McCandless's comment, written in his journal, shows that he truly enjoyed living on his terms rather than those of his parents or society. Being responsible for his own choices helped him figure out the person he was and the life he desired—how to live to the "fullest extent."


He was so enthralled by these tales he seemed to forget they were works of fiction.

Jon Krakauer, Chapter 5

The author explains McCandless's seeming thoughts on the books he read by Jack London. McCandless chose to focus on what he wanted to see—such as the pure challenge of the Alaskan wilderness. McCandless apparently overlooked harsher aspects of London's work. In "To Build a Fire," for example, a man's mistaken assumption that he can survive in the Arctic leads to his death.


He acted like it was hard for him to be around people.

Gail Borah, Chapter 7

Borah interpreted McCandless's initial reserve as a result of his living a solitary life. She didn't see him as a person who built walls to separate himself from others, although this is sometimes also the case. Chris McCandless's solitude was motivated by several different factors, including his angry reaction to discovering his family's true past and his quest to live with as much freedom and as little interference as possible.


Although he was rash, untutored in the ways of the back country ... he wasn't incompetent—he wouldn't have lasted 113 days if he were.

Jon Krakauer, Chapter 8

While Krakauer admits Chris McCandless was impractical and lacked common sense in the face of the wild, he also acknowledges that McCandless displayed enough skills to have survived over three months alone in the harsh Alaskan wilderness. Krakauer's observation makes it impossible to dismiss easily the circumstances that led to McCandless's death.


How is it ... that a kid with so much compassion could cause his parents so much pain?

Walt McCandless, Chapter 11

Walt McCandless tries to comprehend how his son could just walk away from his family with no explanation about the cause of his anger and no desire to hear their responses. This points to a central paradox in Chris McCandless's personality. On the one hand, he was compassionate about the poor and the environment. On the other, he had not reached a point at which, as far as we know, he could forgive his parents for their dishonesty.


The whole idea was to lose our bearings, to push ourselves into unknown territory.

Gordy Cucullu, Chapter 11

Cucullu explains that Chris McCandless taught them that running was spiritual as well as physical. He would lead the team on courses that challenged them to figure out how to deal with the unknown instead of fearing it. This was a pattern that Cucullu believes defined McCandless's life as a whole.


He had trouble with the whole idea of parents.

Eric Hathaway, Chapter 11

Hathaway explains that McCandless's parents were similar to any fathers and mothers who have expectations for their children. A major issue Chris McCandless had with his parents was that he didn't like them to tell him what to do or think. This may have contributed to his later belief in self-determination, antiauthoritarianism, and nonconformity.


I just couldn't bear the idea of throwing away food since Chris had starved to death.

Carine McCandless, Chapter 13

Carine flies back to Maryland from Alaska with her brother's belongings and his ashes. She isn't the least bit hungry but eats every bite of the airplane food because Chris likely starved to death.


I couldn't resist stealing up to the edge of doom and peering over the brink.

Jon Krakauer, Chapter 15

The author explains why he attempted harrowing climbs. He believes many people challenge themselves with life-threatening endeavors because they want to see if they can face death and beat it. In a sense, this is an ultimate test of self-determination and self-reliance. Krakauer also notes that this is not the same as having a death wish.


You can't fix it. Most things you can fix, but not that.

Billie McCandless, Epilogue

Billie expresses her grief at her son's death. She notes most situations and challenges in life can be remedied, but death is forever.

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