Into the Wild

Money Symbol Icon
McCandless has a conflicted relationship with money. He vacillates from rejecting it outright—giving away the remainder of his college fund to OXFAM and burning his remaining cash in the desert—to doing any number of odd jobs and hard labor at Wayne Westerberg’s grain elevator to scrape together enough money for his “great Alaskan odyssey.” He works as a burger flipper for minimum wage at McDonald’s, yet Krakauer describes Chris as a natural “salesman” who demonstrates enough business sense to make $7,000 in one summer. Chris’s complicated connection to money shows his unwillingness to live an affluent or indulgent lifestyle, but also McCandless’s difficulty reconciling his footloose existence with the monetary demands of modern living.
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Money Symbol Timeline in Into the Wild

The timeline below shows where the symbol Money appears in Into the Wild. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Author’s Note
Risk and Self-Reinvention Theme Icon
Materialism and Idealism Theme Icon
...college savings to charity, abandoning his car, giving up his possessions, and burning all the cash in his wallet. (full context)
Chapter 4 - Detrital Wash
Arrogance, Innocence, and Ignorance Theme Icon
Materialism and Idealism Theme Icon
...Bud Walsh, discovers McCandless’s yellow Datsun abandoned in the Detrital Wash, near Lake Mead. Some loose change and twenty-five pounds of rice are left in the car with the keys in the... (full context)
Risk and Self-Reinvention Theme Icon
Arrogance, Innocence, and Ignorance Theme Icon
Luck, Chance, and Circumstance Theme Icon
Materialism and Idealism Theme Icon
...to conceal his predicament from the authorities and his parents. He then burns his remaining cash—nearly one hundred and twenty dollars—and sets off into the desert. (full context)
Materialism and Idealism Theme Icon
Isolation v. Intimacy Theme Icon
...investigate. Kalitka does not find Chris, but learns that he donated the remainder of his college fund —$24,000—to OXFAM. (full context)
Chapter 5 - Bullhead City
Risk and Self-Reinvention Theme Icon
Arrogance, Innocence, and Ignorance Theme Icon
Materialism and Idealism Theme Icon
Isolation v. Intimacy Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 11 - Chesapeake Bay
Materialism and Idealism Theme Icon
Isolation v. Intimacy Theme Icon
...D.C. suburbs, where Walt works for NASA, then starts a consulting firm with Billie. With money tight, Walt and Billie work long hours and fight frequently over the business, while Chris... (full context)
Materialism and Idealism Theme Icon
To earn money to buy his yellow Datsun, Chris canvasses neighborhoods, selling construction services for a local contractor.... (full context)