Getting Ready to Read Into the Wild is a nonfiction, full-length text by Jon Krakauer. Published in 1996, it is based on an article Krakauer wrote in Outside Magazine about Christopher McCandless, a young college graduate who went off to Alaska and died in the woods. Because Krakauer’s article drew a huge amount of mail to the magazine, he decided to write a book about this interesting character.
He’s a young, idealistic guy who forms a life philosophy based on his experience and his reading in college. His idealism, ironically, leads to his death by starvation. He makes choices that seem foolish as we look at them now. But McCandless genuinely loved the outdoors and wanted to live in the world without all the trappings of money and his middle-class upbringing. Into the Wild is, in a way, a mystery story. We’re unsure as to why he rejects his family, why he’s so angry with them, and why he chooses to head for Alaska. Quickwrite: * Think about your experience hiking, backpacking, and/or existing in the wild.
What are the benefits of any one of these activities? or * Think about some alternative plans you might have to beginning college immediately after high school. What might you do? Why would you do it, and for how long could you see yourself doing that activity? or * Think about an experience you have had when you were alone and made some misjudgments that could have led to disaster but didn’t (it doesn’t have to be in the outdoors).
What miscalculations did you make and how did you avert disaster? Activity 2: Introducing Key Concepts We know about characters from their actions, their thoughts, what they say, heir appearance, and what others say about them. This book explores a character, Chris McCandless, and the actions he takes. Before reading about him, complete this pre-reading activity. Read the scenarios below and use specific words to describe the character in the scenario. In groups, you will compare your lists, then turn in your finalized list of descriptive words to your teacher. Mary was from the Valley. She used the word “like” in front of most of her adjectives when she spoke and talked quite a bit. On her 16th birthday she expected to get a car. It was a given.
Her friends thought she would get a pink Maserati, but she was sure her parents would buy her the candy-apple red Alfa Romeo. The day of her birthday came, and as she peered out her bedroom window, she noticed a new car in the driveway, but it was yellow—surely not hers. She thought it may have been the new cleaning woman’s. She did not see any other car in the long driveway. She ran down to get a closer look. It was a new canary-colored convertible Volkswagen bug. On the front driver’s-side seat was a birthday note to her. She burst into tears and ran into the house.
What does this mean? Are all biographers impartial? What might we expect from Krakauer? * In the last paragraph, Krakauer introduces the complexity of Chris McCandless. Keep in mind the following four questions as you read the text: 1 Should we admire McCandless for his courage and noble ideas? 2 Was he a reckless idiot? 3 Was he crazy? 4 Was he an arrogant and stupid narcissist? Activity 4: Making Predictions and Ask Questions (Extra Credit) * Find an issue of Outside Magazine and write a one-page report describing the magazine, its audience, the kinds of articles it publishes, and so forth.
Then ask yourself these questions: * Why do you think Krakauer wrote this particular book? * Who do you think is the intended audience for this book? Note that the book’s roots can be found in a long article about McCandless in Outside Magazine. Activity 6: First Reading Quickwrites (5 minutes) After you finish each chapter, write down what you think the chapter’s main focus is and what the author is trying to accomplish in that chapter. Here are some other questions to ask yourself: · What are the issues the author is discussing? (this is basically a summary).
What does the author want us to believe? this is the author’s purpose) Because you will be given directed tasks as you read Into the Wild, you will need to flip back and forth in this guide. For example, you might read chapters 1 and 2, practice a reading strategy, skip to the section on vocabulary for those chapters, skip on to the section that gives you strategies for rereading, and so forth. Reading Chapters 1 and 2: The Beginning and the End Note the epigraphs that begin each of these chapters. One is by a friend of Chris McCandless and the other is by McCandless, followed by a quotation from White Fang, by Jack London.
In a notebook, keep track of the literary quotations that Krakauer uses in his epigraphs. Make note of all the maps that begin the text. * What is your assessment of Chris McCandless so far? Keep notes as you read, ask questions of the text, and write down your reactions. Reading Chapter 3: Home Jot down your thoughts on the following questions: * What was Westerberg like? What kind of character did he have? * What was McCandless like? What kind of character did he have? Would you have liked to know him? Reading Chapters 4–7: The Journey Study the map that begins Chapter 4 and refer to it as you follow
McCandless’s journey. Jot down answers to the following as you read these chapters: * In your notebook, list the people McCandless met along the way. * What was it about McCandless’s personality that made an impression on people? * Note Alex’s journal. Why do you think he avoided using the first person when he talked about himself? (He did not use “I. ”) * What is the purpose of Chapter 4? * Characterize Ronald Franz. What kind of a human being was he? Did he have your sympathy? Why or why not? * What more did you learn about Alex’s relationship with his father? Do you think his anger is justified? Why or why not?
Reading Chapters 8–10: The Outcasts * What is the function of these chapters? What is their relationship to the rest of the text? * Why did Krakauer interrupt the McCandless story with Chapters 8 and 9? * Were you surprised that McCandless left trails so that the authorities could find out who he was? * What’s in a name? Does it matter that we have the name we were given by our parents? How do names matter? Does your name fit you? If not, what name would you choose? Why? Reading Chapters 11–13: Family History These three key chapters give background information that will help you piece together the mystery of McCandless.
Chapter 11 fills in his personal past; Chapter 12 fills in his family past; and Chapter 13 chronicles McCandless’s family’s grief. Jot down the surprises (if any) that you encountered as you read. * What was McCandless like as a child and as a teen? What was he like as an adult? Were there indications throughout his life as to the kind of person he would become? * Do you think you are essentially the same person you were as a child? How have you changed? Reading Chapters 14 and 15: Krakauer Interjects * Why does Krakauer talk about himself in these two chapters?
Do you like his interjections? What is your reaction to his description of his own climbing experience? * How is Krakauer’s life related to McCandless’s? * John Menlove Edwards said that climbing is a “psycho-neurotic tendency. ” Do you think that is so? Always? * Do you think that Edwards defines McCandless? How is he psycho-neurotic? Reading Chapters 16–18: Into the Alaskan Wild Go back to the author’s notes and jot down your thoughts on the questions Krakauer asks at that point: * Was McCandless crazy? * Was he just ignorant? * Did he have a death wish? * Investigate further the wild sweet peas and wild potatoes McCandless ate.
Were they toxic? Reading the Epilogue: Grief * What was your initial sense of McCandless’s mental condition compared to what you think now? Have you changed your mind? * What was your reaction to his parents as they visited the bus? Activity 7: Looking Closely at Language Because this reading is a full-length book, there are many new words to learn. You learn most of the words you know from hearing them or reading them.
Here are some clues to help you learn new words as you are reading. 1 Notice what comes before and after the word for clues as well as the parts of the word itself you may already know. Link your prior knowledge with what you are reading—make connections to the word or subject. 3 Make predictions about the word’s meaning. 4 Use references to find more about the word. 5 Make connections to a key concept and, if relevant, place the new word and its meaning in your concept dictionary. Activity 8: Rereading the Text Our first reading of a book gives us the story line, the major conflicts, and a sense of what the author intends. The second (or third) reading provides richer analyses and a deeper understanding of the text.
In the author’s notes, Krakauer provides a guide to our reading—especially to our subsequent reading of Into the Wild. As you look at the text again, go back to the four questions he asks in his “notes. ” 1 Was McCandless admirable for his courage and noble ideas? 2 Was he a reckless idiot? 3 Was he crazy? 4 Was he a narcissist who perished out of arrogance and stupidity—and was he undeserving of the considerable media attention he received? Make marginal notes as you reread the text. When you respond to the chapter questions, cite the text, if necessary, where you find evidence for your judgments. Chapters 1 and 2
Each chapter begins with a short epigraph (a quotation that is relevant to that chapter). Now that you have a better sense of Chris McCandless’s story, why do you think these epigraphs are relevant to these chapters? Chapter 3 * How would you characterize McCandless’s relationships with other people: his parents, his sister, Westerberg? * What did his friends make of his secretive life? Chapters 4–7 As you read, see if you can find evidence of Alex’s preparation for Alaska: Read Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” and consider how Alex might have incorporated Thoreau’s advice into his life philosophy.
Read some of Jack London’s work that we know influenced Alex: The Call of the Wild, White Fang, “To Build a Fire,” “An Odysse Consider McCandless’s family history. * Does that change your view of him? * Characterize each of McCandless’s family members. What are their strengths and weaknesses? * Was McCandless reasonable in his reaction to his parents’ past? Should he have forgiven them? * How do you think the information about his parents affected McCandless? * Does his anger at them explain something about McCandless’s choices in life? * Chapter 12 ends with McCandless’s mother talking about a dream (nightmare? ) that she had. Have you ever had such a thing happen to you? Should we take dreams such as these seriously.
Edit and Organize Chapter 4 due to error and grammar
In short, I think the work that you need to do is to get feedback from writing tutors on how to better organize and clarify your Chapter 4.
Wherever you send your Chapter 4 to, be sure to clarify that you need assistance with content and grammar rather than APA formatting.
Add a chart to Chapter 3
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