Into the Wild

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Hitchhiking Symbol Icon
McCandless’s hitchhiking is symbolic of his transient lifestyle and unwillingness to be tied down to any place, any person, or any rules.

Hitchhiking Quotes in Into the Wild

The Into the Wild quotes below all refer to the symbol of Hitchhiking. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The American Wilderness Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor Books edition of Into the Wild published in 1997.
Chapter 7 Quotes

No, I want to hitch north. Flying would be cheating. It would wreck the whole trip.

Related Characters: Chris McCandless (speaker)
Related Symbols: Hitchhiking
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

Wayne Westerberg has offered to fly Chris out to Alaska, but Chris refuses. Here, as elsewhere, he shows an unwillingness to accept the way most others move throughout the world, choosing instead to think long and hard about every decision he makes. For Chris, hitchhiking is preferable to flying for several reasons: it's cheaper, more sustainable for the environment, and doesn't require even the basic kind of involvement in society that one would need (including, for instance, an ID) in order to fly.

But here, Chris seems concerned not only for the social implications of his choices but also for what these choices say about him and his own journey. Characterizing flying as "cheating" suggests that Chris sets high, pure standards for himself, standards that almost become a kind of game for him to win. The book does portray Chris's decisions as authentic and sincere, as idealistic, even if at the same time it is possible to argue that he sets such high standards for little apparent reason other than his own stubbornness.

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Hitchhiking Symbol Timeline in Into the Wild

The timeline below shows where the symbol Hitchhiking appears in Into the Wild. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4 - Detrital Wash
Risk and Self-Reinvention Theme Icon
Isolation v. Intimacy Theme Icon
Hitchhiking throughout the Southwest, Chris goes to Los Angeles to get a job and ID, but... (full context)