Dj Mahgar”s Book

Into the Wild Major Writing Assignment – 12th Grade




“I think that Chris McCandless was bright and ignorant at the same time. He had no common sense, and he had no business going into Alaska with his romantic silliness. He made a lot of mistakes based on arrogance. I don’t admire him at all for his courage nor his noble ideas. Really, I think he was just plain crazy.” –Shaun Callarman, journalist


In a well-organized essay, take a position yourself on McCandless’s story, discussing the extent to which you agree or disagree with Callarman’s analysis. You might entirely agree with Callarman’s statement, or entirely disagree. Most likely, you will agree and/or disagree with different parts of Callarman’s statement to various degrees. It is upon you to argue your own point of view, and support your argument with evidence from Krakauer’s Into the Wild, as well as the other texts we have examined.*


Some things you might consider in your analysis/brainstorming include:


–What the idea of “living deliberately” means, what it meant to Chris, and whether or not he lived up to his own standards

–Whether he acted recklessly, out of hubris and arrogance, or whether his actions reflected the certainty of someone testing his own capabilities (or somewhere in between)

–The effects his actions had on his loved ones

–What his story has to teach us (both in a good way and/or in a bad way)


* You will be supporting your argument(s) with evidence from the texts we’ve examined. While your main text for reference will be Krakauer’s Into the Wild, you must also use at least 2 of these outside sources in your essay: the excerpt we read from Emerson’s “Self-Reliance,” the excerpt we read from Walden, and Craig Medred’s “Examining Chris McCandless.”


You are free to structure this essay however you like, as long as you address the prompt. Nevertheless, here are some structural thoughts that might help you in thinking of how to structure your essay.

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