McCandless buys a secondhand yellow Datsun in high school with money he earned from selling construction contracts one summer. His attachment to the car is so great that he vehemently refuses his parents’ offer to buy him a new one for his graduation. Even so, Chris abandons his beloved car in the desert, when salvaging it would mean prematurely ending his solo cross-country trip. He forgoes the convenience and safety of his car for the adventure and uncertainty of hitchhiking. Because of these events, the yellow Datsun symbolizes Chris’s pride in his hard work, his scorn for his parent’s materialism, and his rejection of a safe and convenient lifestyle.
The Yellow Datsun Symbol Timeline in Into the Wild
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Yellow Datsun appears in Into the Wild. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3 – Carthage
Chapter 4 - Detrital Wash
...and sets up camp. A thunderstorm’s flash flood nearly sweeps Chris away, but leaves the car’s engine wet, preventing him from starting the ignition immediately. Thinking that his car is broken,... (full context)
Chapter 11 - Chesapeake Bay