A Walk in the Woods

by

Bill Bryson

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on A Walk in the Woods can help.
Themes and Colors
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in A Walk in the Woods, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness

When author and narrator Bill Bryson decides to hike the Appalachian Trail in 1996, his fear of hiking alone in the remote wilderness leads him to seek out a travel companion. He ends up taking the trip with Stephen Katz, an acquaintance whom he hasn’t seen in years. Bryson’s wife thinks this is a terrible idea—she remembers Bryson finding Katz incredibly annoying, so she wonders if Bryson will be able to tolerate Katz’s company…

read analysis of Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness

Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl

A Walk in the Woods documents author and narrator Bill Bryson’s attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail with his friend Stephen Katz in 1996. Bryson fantasizes about exploring the wilderness and getting reacquainted with his homeland after many years living abroad in Europe. Bryson imagines that the experience will be similar to hiking through Europe, where he walked through an easy mix of farms and fields and slept in charming villages along the way…

read analysis of Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl

Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction

In A Walk in the Woods, author and narrator Bill Bryson decides to hike the Appalachian Trail in 1996. As he prepares for his journey into the woods, he reads about countless potential dangers and grows increasingly terrified of deadly encounters with snakes, poisonous plants, falling trees, and worst of all, bears. Despite his worries, Bryson learns that he—and everything else in the Trail’s ecosystem—is actually far more likely to die at the…

read analysis of Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction
Get the entire A Walk in the Woods LitChart as a printable PDF.
A Walk in the Woods PDF

Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude

Bill Bryson (author and narrator of A Walk in the Woods) imagines conquering the wilderness and becoming a “mountain man” when he undertakes a mammoth hiking trip along the Appalachian Trail—but he quickly learns that the hike is a punishing exercise in self-deprivation. The trek is arduous, and he has to cope without comforts that he often takes for granted (such as warm food, pleasant company, or a comfortable bed). Although Bryson gets used…

read analysis of Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude