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Into the Wild


Jon Krakauer

Characters Jon Krakauer

The reader of Into the Wild follows Krakauer’s investigations as he pieces together McCandless’s movements and compiles various kinds of evidence regarding his psychological motivations. Krakauer’s perspective thus guides every aspect of the book, and he often slips into the first person to describe his research process or his conversations with people who knew McCandless. Even past the constant presence of Krakauer’s authorial voice, two central chapters of Into the Wild are spent on a first-person narrative of Krakauer’s own near-death experiences. Krakauer presents himself as able to understand McCandless’s obsession with the outdoors and with danger, though he explicitly differentiates himself from McCandless by claiming to have a less advanced intellect and more interest in other people. In addition to his psychological similarity to McCandless, Krakauer carefully establishes himself as an encyclopedic source of knowledge on wilderness and survival topics as well as the history of wilderness exploration. He belongs to the wild and to the people who love it, which makes him an indispensable and credible storyteller.