Essay #2 – Critical Analysis
For this assignment, you will write a critical analysis of the book Into the Wild. It should consider one aspect of the book and its meaning, purpose or significance to the story that the author is trying to tell.
Remember that the “they say” is the author’s words (Jon Krakauer) and the “I say” is your interpretation of what the author meant. Therefore, it is not your opinion on the topic, but what you see as the author’s opinion given how he tells the story.
Choose from one of the following topics for your critical analysis:
Christopher McCandless left his comfortable life in middle-class America to go on a “great Alaskan adventure” alone in the wilderness. The author suggests several different possible reasons why McCandless would take such extreme risks. Of these reasons, what does Krakauer indicate ultimately motivated him to make such a radical change in his lifestyle?
Jon Krakauer devotes two chapters in his book, Into the Wild, to his own life as a young man. Why does Krakauer believe their stories are similar? Why does he think their ends were different? How does his own experience shape his understanding of Christopher McCandless?
Readers often disagree on whether or not one should admire Christopher McCandless’s life. Does the author believe he is worthy of admiration? In Krakauer’s view, are McCandless’ adventures in the wild fundamentally selfish? Or is he a pilgrim seeking the greater good?
Christopher McCandless had complicated relationships with his family and those he met during his travels. Choose one of these relationships and explain why the author includes it in the book. What do we learn about McCandless from this person? What does Krakauer think of the relationship and its significance to McCandless’ life?
- 2-3 page essay, double spaced (650-800 words)
- Critical Analysis
- Appropriately structured introduction, supporting examples (specific quotes, characters, or passages), and conclusion
- Review the rubric for detailed expectations
Deadline: March 6, 2017