Hunger and starvation are reoccurring symbols throughout Into the Wild. McCandless becomes a champion against widespread starvation by donating $24,000 to OXFAM, an organization dedicated to fighting hunger. Yet McCandless himself is often plagued by hunger. He wanders in the desert with little food or water, subsists on rice, and eats hungrily whenever he’s offered a free meal. Ironically, McCandless dies of starvation, as a result of his foraging for edible wild plants in the Alaskan bush. Yet McCandless does not just hunger for food, but craves, what Krakauer calls, a “raw, transcendent experience.” In this way, McCandless’s journey is driven by a deep yearning, or hunger to explore the world, nature, and himself.
Hunger and Starvation Quotes in Into the Wild
The Into the Wild quotes below all refer to the symbol of Hunger and Starvation. 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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of Into the Wild published in 1997.).
Chapter 4 Quotes
Can this be the same Alex that set out in July 1990? Malnutrition and the road have taken their toll on his body. Over 25 pounds lost. But his spirit is soaring.
Hunger and Starvation Symbol Timeline in Into the Wild
The timeline below shows where the symbol Hunger and Starvation appears in Into the Wild. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 - The Alaska Interior
Chapter 2 - The Stampede Trail
Chapter 3 – Carthage
...to Carthage, South Dakota. Krakauer imagines what Chris would have looked like to Wayne—vulnerable and “hungry.” Westerberg remembers that, at the time of their meeting, McCandless had not eaten for days... (full context)
Chapter 9 - Davis Gulch
Chapter 18 - The Stampede Trail