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Symbolism in Into The Wild
Ragyie Rawalon 11 October 2012
Transcript of Symbolism in Into The Wild
In the book Krakaur states," His entry of Mexico is either unnoticed or ignored...Hiss jubilence however was shortlived.Below the Morelos Dam the river turns into a maze of irrigation canals, marshland, and dead-end channels, among which McCandless repeatedly got lost." (Into the Wild, pg. 34) Mountains Symbolizes McCandless's negative thoughts toward wealth Burning of Money 1. Mountains
2. Yellow Datsun
3. Burning of Money
4. Leather Belt
7. Magic Bus
10. Boots Symbols: Mountains symbolize overcoming challenges One challenge McCandless faced was
when he accidently entered Mexico on his canoe and got stranded. Another challenge McCandless faced was when he couldn't cross the Teklanika River in the Alaska Range, which eventually led to his death. In the book, Krakaur notes, "In his journal he wrote, ' Disaster...Rained in. River look impossible. Lonely, scared. ' He concluded, correctly, that he would probably be swept to his death if he attempted to cross the Teklanika at that place, in those conditions. " (Into the Wild, pg. 170) McCandless left his beloved Datsun in the desert. The author, Krakaur, notes, "At the edge of the dry riverbed, in a thicket of saltbush not far from where they had parked, a large object was concealed beneath a dun-colored tarpaulin. When the rangers pulled off the tarp, they found an old yellow Datsun without license plates...The Datsun of course belonged to Chris McCandless." (Into the Wild, pg. 26 and pg. 27) McCandless also did not have any possessions with him when he went into the Alaska Range. Kraukaur reflects, "As he trudged expectantly down the trail in a fake-fur parka, his rifle slung over one shoulder, the only food McCandless carried was a ten-pound bag of long-grained rice- and the two sandwiches and bag of chips Gallien had contributed." (Into the Wild, pg. 162) McCandless does not agree with his parents wealth In the book, Kraukaur reflects, "Her son, the teenage Tolstoyan, believed that wealth was shameful, corrupting, inherently evil..." (Into the Wild, pg. 115) McCandless gave away all of his college funds to
a non-profit organization Kraukaur writes, "...what nobody knew- was that he would shortly donate all the money in his college fund to OXFAM America, a charity dedicated to fighting hunger. ( Into the Wild, pg. 20 Deserts Books Magic Bus Rivers Moose Boots Symbolism in Into the Wild By : Ragyie Rawal,
Kayley Renner, Samiyah Raddler, and Mark Thompson www.bookrags.com/studyguide-into-the-wild/objectsplaces.com www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guide/literature/into-the-wild/critical-essays/symbols.html The deserts symbolize McCandless's
loneliness McCandless went into the wild alone and sometimes was in the desert alone for long periods of time. In the book,Kraukaur reflects on McCandless's journal, "...and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild. " (Into the Wild, pg 163) McCandless liked to travel alone, sometimes being cut off from society for elongated periods of time Kraukaur remembers, "...McCandless was cut off from the rest of the world. He spent nearly four months in the bush... and during that period he did not encounter another living soul." (Into the Wild, pg. 165 McCandless was quick to form relationships with people he had just met, like when he made a good impression on Wayne Westerberg's mother. In the book, Mrs. Westerburg reflects on her visit with McCandless. "Gosh, he was fun to visit with; I didn't want the night to end...Considering that I only spent a few hours in Alex's company, it amazes me how much I'm bothered with his death." McCandless got Ron Franz's help to make a leather belt, which acted a symbol for their close relationship. Kraukaur notes, " An accomplished leatherworker, Franz taught Alex the secrets of his craft; for his first project McCandless produced a tooled leather belt, on which he created an artful pictorial record of his wanderings." (Into the Wild, pg. 51) Books symbolize how unrealistically McCandless viewed life. In the book, Kraukaur states, "Reality, however was quick to intrude on McCandless's reverie." (Into the Wild, pg. 164) The moose symbolizes McCandless's love for nature. When McCandless killed the moose, he could not preserve it properly, therefore wasting the moose.
He felt terrible that this happened. In McCandless's journal, he reflects "...I now wish I had never shot the moose. One of the greatest tragedies of my life." (Into the Wild, pg. 167) McCandless soon thought any food from nature to be "holy" In his journal, McCandless notes, " ... ' Consciousness of food. Eat and cook with concentration...Holy food.'" (Into the Wild , pg 168) The boots symbolize McCandless's inability to stay in one place for long. McCandless had a bad case of "itchy feet", meaning he could not stay in one place for long. McCandless was able to forgive his favorite author's shortcomings, but not his fathers because of how unrealistically he viewed life. Kraukaur reflects, "Chris was well aware of this man's faults yet managed to forgive them. He was also able to forgive, or overlook, the shortcomings of his literary heroes...Like many people, Chris apparently judged artists and close friends by their work, not their life, yet he was incapable of extending such leniency to his father." (Into the Wild, pg. 122) The magic bus symbolizes good fortune McCandless found what he called the "Magic Bus" while in the Alaska Range In the book, Kraukaur notes the day McCandless found the bus, "...he stumbled upon the old bus beside the Sushana River...he was elated to be there" (Into the Wild, pg 163) McCandless was lucky enough to catch many animals while in the Alaska Range, a task tedious to do with what little weapons he had. One quote that supports this example is, "He also became much more successful at hunting game and for the next six weeks feasted regularly on squirrel, spruce grouse, duck, goose, and porcupine." ( Into the Wild, pg. 164) The rivers symbolize the unpredictableness of living in the wild. The Teklanika River was very unpredictable when
McCandless went to cross it "When he'd first crossed the river, sixty-seven days earlier in the freezing temperatures of April, it had been an icy but gentle knee-deep creek...On July 5, however, the Teklanika was full flood, swollen with rain and snow melt..." (Into the Wild, pg. 170) When Kraukaur himself went to climb the Devil's Thumb, he faced some unexpected challenges. Kraukaur notes, "Before I could plot a logical course through the icefall, the wind came up, and snow began to slant hard out of the clouds, stinging my face and reducing visibility to almost nothing. " (Into the Wild, pg. 139) Kraukaur notes the time that Chris appeared unexpectedly at Jan Burres place, "McCandless explained to Burres that he'd growed tired of Bullhead, tired of punching a clock, tired of the 'plastic' people he worked with and decided to get out of town." (Into the Wild, pg. 43) This is a quote about when McCandless unexpectedly decides to leave Burres, "The following Wednesday, McCandless announced it was time for him to be moving on. " (Into the Wild, pg. 46) Epigraphs Some of the epigraphs are related to
the symbols Jack London is incorporated into many of the epigraphs. London is related to the symbol of books, because McCandless took all of London's unrealistic views to heart. Thoreau is also incorporated into many of the epigraphs. Thoreau is related to the symbol of the moose, because McCandless took many of Thoreau's views of nature and agreed with Thoreau on many different topics.