Analysis Of Into The Wild By John Krakauer

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Analysis Of Into The Wild By John Krakauer

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Into the Wild Chapter 1 Summary

In early , McCandless left the Sierra Nevada and hitchhiked in a circular course south through California, into Arizona , and then north to South Dakota. Completely out of cash with no means to support himself, he obtained a job as a grain elevator operator in Carthage. He worked at this job for the remainder of , until one day suddenly quitting and leaving his supervisor a postcard which read:. McCandless then headed to Colorado where he used money from his job to buy kayak supplies as well as a handgun. He then navigated the Colorado River , without a permit, and was occasionally pursued by wildlife and park rangers who had heard of his exploits from other river travelers, several of whom had been concerned that McCandless had been seen white water rafting in dangerous areas of the river with no safety equipment.

The authorities attempted, but never succeeded, in locating McCandless who was wanted due to his lack of proper river training as well as operating on the river without a valid boating license. McCandless eventually followed the Colorado River all the way to Mexico where he crossed the international border through a spillway at the Morelos Dam. After encountering waterfalls, through which he could no longer navigate in a canoe, McCandless abandoned his river journey and spent a few days alone at Golfo de Santa Clara.

Finding Mexico intimidating, with no way to support himself, he attempted to reenter the United States and was arrested by Customs and Border Patrol for carrying a firearm at a border checkpoint. McCandless was briefly held in custody, but released without charges after his gun was confiscated. Following this experience in Mexico, McCandless began hitchhiking north, eventually winding up back in South Dakota. After his death, witnesses stated they had seen McCandless in Alaska first at Dot Lake with several other sightings in Fairbanks. McCandless was stated to be traveling with a "big backpack" and would give a false name if asked his identity. He was described as very suspicious of people around him, unkempt, and smelling due to lack of hygiene.

One witness described McCandless as "generally strange, weird, with a weird energy". In the summer of , McCandless was seen at Delta Junction, Alaska and was then last seen alive at the head of the Stampede Trail on April 28 by a local electrician named Jim Gallien. Gallien, who had given McCandless a ride from Fairbanks to the start of the rugged track just outside the small town of Healy , later said he had been seriously concerned about the safety of McCandless who introduced himself as "Alex" after noticing his light pack, minimal equipment, meager rations, and obvious lack of experience.

Gallien said he had deep doubts about "Alex's" ability to survive the harsh and unforgiving Alaskan bush. Gallien tried repeatedly to persuade McCandless to delay the trip, at one point offering to detour to Anchorage and buy him suitable equipment and supplies. However, McCandless ignored Gallien's persistent warnings and refused his offers of assistance though McCandless did accept a pair of Xtratufs , two sandwiches, and a packet of corn chips from Gallien. Gallien dropped McCandless off believing he would head back towards the highway within a few days as hunger set in.

McCandless, according to Into the Wild , attempted to continue "heading west until [he] hit the Bering Sea. He had 4. Self-portrait photographs and journal entries indicate he foraged for edible plants and hunted game. McCandless hunted porcupines , squirrels , and birds, such as ptarmigans and Canada geese. On June 9, , he illegally stalked and shot a moose. However, the meat spoiled within days after McCandless failed in his efforts to preserve it. It had been speculated that McCandless was responsible for vandalizing several cabins in the area that were stocked with food, survival equipment, and emergency supplies.

McCandless's journal documents days in the area. In July, after living in the bus for a little over two months, he decided to head back to civilization, but the trail was blocked by the impassable Teklanika River swollen with late-summer runoff from the Cantwell Glacier ; the watercourse by that stage was considerably higher and swifter than when he had crossed in April.

He posted an S. Attention Possible Visitors. I need your help. I am injured, near death, and too weak to hike out. I am all alone, this is no joke. In the name of God, please remain to save me. I am out collecting berries close by and shall return this evening. Thank you, Chris McCandless. Near the time of his death, McCandless took a picture of himself waving while holding a written note, which read:. On September 6, , a group of hunters who were looking for shelter for the night came upon the converted bus where McCandless had been staying.

Upon entering, they smelled what they thought was rotting food and discovered "a lump" in a sleeping bag in the back of the bus. The hunters radioed police, who arrived the following day. They found McCandless's decomposing remains in the sleeping bag. It is theorized that he died from starvation approximately two weeks before his body was found. In his book Into the Wild , Krakauer suggests two factors may have contributed to McCandless's death. First, he offered that McCandless was running the risk of " rabbit starvation ", from over-relying on lean game for nutrition. Krakauer also speculated [29] that McCandless might have been poisoned by a toxic alkaloid called swainsonine , by ingesting seeds from Hedysarum alpinum or Hedysarum mackenzii containing the toxin, or possibly by a mold that grows on them Rhizoctonia leguminicola when he put them damp into a plastic bag.

Swainsonine inhibits metabolism of glycoproteins , which causes starvation despite ample caloric intake. However, in an article in the September issue of Men's Journal , Matthew Power states that extensive laboratory testing showed there were no toxins or alkaloids present in the H. Thomas Clausen, the chair of the chemistry and biochemistry department at University of Alaska Fairbanks , said, "I tore that plant apart. There were no toxins. No alkaloids. I'd eat it myself. In , a new hypothesis was proposed.

Ronald Hamilton, a retired bookbinder at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania , [7] suggested a link between the symptoms described by McCandless and the poisoning of Jewish prisoners in the Nazi concentration camp in Vapniarca. He put forward the proposal that McCandless starved to death because he was suffering from paralysis in his legs induced by lathyrism , which prevented him from gathering food or hiking. The ODAP, a toxic amino acid , had not been detected by the previous studies of the seeds because they had suspected and tested for a toxic alkaloid, rather than an amino acid, and nobody had previously suspected that Hedysarum alpinum seeds contained this toxin.

The protein would be relatively harmless to someone who was well-fed and on a normal diet, but toxic to someone who was malnourished , physically stressed, and on an irregular and insufficient diet, as McCandless was. Results showed that the seeds contained 0. In March , Krakauer co-authored a scientific analysis of the Hedysarum alpinum seeds McCandless ate. Instead of ODAP, the report found relatively high levels of L- canavanine an antimetabolite toxic to mammals in the H. The converted green and white bus where McCandless lived and died became a well-known destination for hikers.

Some of these experienced their own difficulties, or even died attempting to cross the Teklanika River. On June 18, , various government agencies coordinated with an Alaska Army National Guard training mission to finally remove the bus, deemed a public safety issue after at least 15 people had to be rescued, and at least two people died while attempting to cross the Teklanika River to reach the bus. On September 24, , the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska Fairbanks announced it became the permanent home of McCandless's 'Magic Bus ' where it will be restored and an outdoor exhibit will be created. Manager Davide Volonte recalls the surreal mood as the first masked clients appeared and of the last night before the the Italian government's shutdown order came into effect.

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