Into The Wild - Mike Miller          

Into The Wild Essay

Into the Wild

In my language arts class, I read the book “Into the Wild.” The book is about a young man named Chris McCandless who left his life as a law school graduate to wander around the United States as a “rubber tramp.” After two years, he chooses to live in the Alaskan wilderness. He spends over 100 days there before he dies. Although I found the subject matter interesting, I did not like the book itself.

I think the author, John Krakauer, did not do a good job of organizing the book. Being someone who likes traditional-style books, I prefer books to be in somewhat of a chronological order. Krakauer chooses to start at the end, jump around the story for a few chapters and then obtain some order. The reader does learn about Chris, but the format doesn't allow things to flow and attributes to the storyline occur randomly. I suppose being non-traditional and unique is a good thing to experiment with, though there needs to be a proper execution of the style.

Another thing I disliked about the book was all of the interjections. For example, the chapters about the other adventurers: I suppose those were for trying to better understand McCandless, but it just took away from the story. I also didn't enjoy the few chapters about Krakauer's experience. There's a time and place for that—in your story; you read a book because you want to learn about facts or a story, so why not pertain to that story?

However, I thought the actual story of Chris was very interesting. It was a neat experience to see a biography written like a fiction novel. That allows the reader to learn about someone while thinking, “I would do that!” or “I would do it like this...”. The reader becomes more personal with McCandless and feels in his shoes, whereas most biographies are the simple “born here, did this, died here.” It's also funny to remember how annoyed I was with Chris at the beginning of the story and how much I felt for him by the end.

Overall, I can't really say if I enjoyed the book or not. The subject was fascinating but the writing style really turned me off. It makes you wonder about what the book would be like if someone else wrote it. Would it be easier to understand? Would it still be interesting or would it fade into a run-of-the-mill biography? Most importantly, would Chris still be portrayed as who he really was (or at least how I thought he was): a rash, opinionated, adventurous dreamer?
Mike Miller

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