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The Book “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer


The book Into the Wild written by Jon Krakauer (1996) is a work full of metaphorical meanings and parallels that the author disguises intentionally. Readers’ perceptions of the characters are largely shaped by events rather than dialogs since the main character, Chris, is a traveler and communicates with the outside world than with people more often. The analogies drawn by Krakauer (1996) make it clear that inner freedom does not depend on external circumstances and cannot be suppressed by any benefits or perspectives.

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Item Description

As a selected item, which is a vivid embodiment of Chris’s life, a fish frozen in ice is proposed for analysis. Krakauer (1996) intentionally describes this scene in detail since readers can draw an analogy between this fish and Chris’s doubts. Like a bird locked in a cage, the young man’s life had been full of limitations and conventions before he decided on his journey. Not wanting to return home, the character decides to take a bold step and breaks the shackles that bind him to his parents, thus becoming free in his decisions. Therefore, the fish represents a bird that cannot leave its cage.

Chris’s Background

Despite his stable and successful life, Chris experiences obvious emotional excitement and cannot get rid of the obsession with changes. The worldview of the young man who has grown up in a prosperous area in a good family is contrary to the standard framework in which his parents want to see him. Krakauer (1996) describes Chris’s father as “an eminent aerospace engineer who designed advanced radar systems” (p. 21). Such a stable position requires high returns and hard work, and for the man, his son’s voluntary renunciation of a good career is like a personal tragedy. Chris’s tense relationship with his father is one of the reasons that prompted the young man to commit the most serious act of his life – to donate all the collected money to charity and go on a solo trip.

Personal Analysis

The considered item representing Chris’s life in a social cage like a fish frozen in ice is a logical consequence of the story. Krakauer (1996) describes not only the wanderings of the young man but also his interaction with some other characters. In particular, the author cites the following words of the protagonist, which are the leitmotif of the whole story: “I’ll never stop wandering” (Krakauer, 1996, p. 212). As Chris moves towards Alaska, his confidence in the correctness of his actions does not weaken but, conversely, strengthens. This indicates that the character is not ready to give up personal beliefs, thereby proving the sincerity of his intentions. In this regard, the question arises: can a fish that has frozen in ice get rid of its trap? The story of Chris proves that this is possible, and no stereotypes of life can make a person go against one’s individual freedom.

The aforementioned comparison with a fish is important in the context of the analysis. Any reader can ask a question: could Chris return home after experiencing new sensations and opportunities? However, the answer probably lies in the following Krakauer’s (1996) words: “it was his goal to return to a natural state” (p. 227). As a result, neither the cultural background nor family values ​​became an obstacle for Chris to get rid of the hard ice holding him back and go in search of personal freedom.


When analyzing the story by Krakauer (1996), one can conclude that if a person strives for individual freedom, it does not depend on external circumstances and a specific cultural background. The fate of Chris, as the young man enclosed in a cage and similar to a fish frozen in ice, has changed due to the character’s inner convictions but not external factors. Therefore, his reluctance to return home and the desire to abandon standard human benefits can be seen as conscious and balanced decisions.


Krakauer, J. (1996). Into the wild. Anchor Books.

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