Free Study Guide for Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer|
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INTO THE WILD BY JON KRAKAUER BOOK SUMMARY STUDY GUIDE
Ronald Frantz gives “Alex” a ride to his camp at Oh-My-God Hotsprings. Frantz, who had lost his wife and only son some forty years earlier in a car accident, felt a connection with Alex. Frantz and Alex developed a relationship and spent a lot of time together. Frantz, who was a leatherworker, instructed Alex in the craft. Frantz also fed Alex. One day Alex announced that he was going to San Diego. Frantz was sad, but insisted on driving him. McCandless went on to Seattle, but returned soon to California. In California, McCandless met up with Frantz again. Alex wanted to go out to South Dakota, where Wayne Westerberg had a job waiting for him-- Frantz drove him part way there, video-taping their journey. Later, Alex wrote Frantz a letter from South Dakota, urging him to become more nomadic. Frantz took his advice, and occupied Alex’s old campsite
Rosellini serves as a comparison to McCandless for Krakauer. Gene Rosellini was referred to by Alaska locals as the Mayor of Hippie Cove. Rosellini’s goal was to see “if it was possible to be independent of modern technology.” Rosellini concluded that his attempt to live off the land was a failure after thirty years and then committed suicide.
Another adventurer Krakauer considers is John Mallon Waterman. Waterman was raised in the same Washington D.C. metro area as McCandless. As a child Waterman’s father took him climbing frequently. He was very talented and developed a reputation for his skill. Waterman was described by his contemporaries as a strange character. Although John had significant success as a climber, he began to unravel mentally. After spending some time in a psychiatric facility, Waterman completed what literally turned out to be a suicide mission--climbing Mt. Denali with little gear.
Carl McCunn serves as Krakauer’s third comparison with McCandless. McCunn was an absent-minded man from Texas who moved to Fairbanks in the 1970s. McCunn had himself flown out to a lake near the Coleen River to take photographs but forgot to arrange to be picked up at the end of the summer. McCunn died in the wilderness.
Krakauer also considers Everett Ruess--another young adventurer with similarities to McCandless. Ruess was born in 1934 and shared McCandless’s restless spirit. Ruess adopted a pseudonym during his travels--Nemo, meaning “no one” in Latin and also the name of the main character in Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was believed that Ruess fell to his death at Davis Gulch; however, Krakauer explores alternative theories of his death. Everett’s brother believes he was murdered; Everett’s biographer believes he drowned.
Gaylord Stuckey meets McCandless along the Alaskan Highway, where he asks for a ride. Stuckey initially refused McCandless a ride because it was against his company’s policy. However, after talking for a while, Stuckey became convinced that McCandless was not a typical transient and drove him all the way to Fairbanks. Stuckey bought McCandless a bag of rice at the grocery store and then left him at the University of Alaska campus, where McCandless wanted to learn about berries.
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. 22 January 2009