Into the Wild

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Into the Wild Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Krakauer picks up McCandless’ trail at Bullhead City, Arizona where Chris stays for two months, flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Chris’ coworkers remember Chris as a responsible, but rebellious worker, who would always show up, but worked slowly at the grill and resented wearing socks and shoes to work.
Though willing to take low-paying jobs and work hard for his money, Chris shows disdain for his menial job and capitalism by subverting McDonald’s company policies, further demonstrating Chris’ complicated relationship with work and wealth. He works for money only in order to free himself from having to work from money for a while.
Themes
Materialism and Idealism Theme Icon
McCandless takes a liking for Bullhead City and makes an arrangement with an old man named Charlie to squat in an abandoned trailer on the outskirts of town. Chris writes to Jan Burres, inviting her and Bob to visit him, but before they can depart Chris arrives at their campsite located at the Slabs, an unconventional campground for vagabonds and drifters. Chris explains that he was tired of life in Bullhead City.
McCandless’ rapid movements from one town to the next not only underscore his itinerant lifestyle, but also his mercurial ways. Just as Chris’ attitudes and moods change, so too do his movements and living arrangements. Yet while Chris is quick to change, he fails to recognize that nature and society shift in unpredictable ways, as well.
Themes
The American Wilderness Theme Icon
Arrogance, Innocence, and Ignorance Theme Icon
Materialism and Idealism Theme Icon
Isolation v. Intimacy Theme Icon
Chris helps Jan sell secondhand books at the Slab’s flea market by recommending books and stories by his favorite author and chronicler of the Klondike, Jack London. He frequently talks about his plans to go on a “great Alaskan odyssey.”
Chris’ Alaskan adventure is inspired by the fictions of Jack London, suggesting that Chris does not appreciate the nuances between the fiction he reads and the realities he will face in Alaska.
Themes
The American Wilderness Theme Icon
Arrogance, Innocence, and Ignorance Theme Icon
Materialism and Idealism Theme Icon
A seventeen year-old girl named Tracy develops a crush on Chris, but he doesn’t take her seriously. Instead he bonds with Jan, revealing to her that he actually hails from D.C.
Chris tends to gravitate towards motherly figures over romantic relationships. While he flees his own family, there is a hint that some part of him is seeking a familial love he can believe in.
Themes
Risk and Self-Reinvention Theme Icon
Isolation v. Intimacy Theme Icon
Get the entire Into the Wild LitChart as a printable PDF.
Into the wild.pdf.medium
After a week, McCandless decides to leave the Slabs. Jan drives him to Salton City, California so that he can pick up his last McDonald’s paycheck. She attempts to give Chris some money, but he refuses. She finally persuades him to accept some knives and long underwear for Alaska. Jan later finds the long underwear tucked under the car’s seat. Though angered by Chris’ action, she figures he’ll be all right.
Chris’ refusal of Jan’s money and supplies, not only demonstrates Chris’ unwillingness to accept the aid of others it also suggests that his extreme self-reliance is also extremely self-destructive. Such supplies could aid Chris on his journey, but Chris places his pride above his wellbeing and comfort. Further, his decision to leave indicates that he feels the need to prioritize his independence over making human connections.
Themes
Risk and Self-Reinvention Theme Icon
Arrogance, Innocence, and Ignorance Theme Icon
Materialism and Idealism Theme Icon
Isolation v. Intimacy Theme Icon