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Prof Pat Swenson

Sierra Tower 812

Phone: 818.677.3410

Campus Email: pat.swenson@csun.edu

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Department Information

Department of English

708 Sierra Tower
Phone: 818.677.3431

English Department Website

Humanities Program

Sierra Hall 194
Phone: 818.677.6762

Humanities Program Website

Into the Wild - Writing Assignment


Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild describes the harrowing journey of Chris McCandless as he searches for the ideal Thoreauean lifestyle. McCandless’ story captures our imagination by appealing to the desire to be free from materialistic and emotional possessions. According to Krakauer, McCandless "invented a new life for himself, taking up residence at the ragged margin of our society, wandering across North America in search of raw, transcendent experience."

For your 750 word analysis, please explore McCandless’ reasoning for seeking a solitary and renunciant existence, as you address ALL the following questions.

Remember to post your analysis on our Turnitin page by the due date listed in our schedule.

(1) What were the events that led Chris McCandless to this idealistic path? Describe the path.

(2) Why did McCandless (and some of the other explorers mentioned in the book) need to experience the extremes of life and the extremes of the wild?

(3) What prevented McCandless from being able to experience emotional intimacy with others (and perhaps with himself)?

(4) On a personal note, how were you affected by reading McCandless’ story? What insights did you gain into your “self”?

PLEASE NOTE: Because this assignment will be discussed by peers in a discussion forum, papers posted on Turnitin AFTER our the due date cannot earn a grade higher than a C!!!