Into the Wild Project - Parizo Senior English

Into the Wild Project
Senior/British Literature
What is Into The Wild?
• Into The Wild is a 1997 nonfiction book by John Krakauer
that has been turned into a
movie directed by Sean Penn.
• The book follows the true story
of Christopher McCandless –
an Emory graduate who gives
away his graduation gift from
his parents, $25,000, to charity
and ventures out into the
Alaskan wilderness to “find
himself” where he dies of
starvation alone in the back of
an abandoned bus.
What is the plot?
• The book is highly acclaimed
and its main character,
Christopher McCandless, has
become a modern-day folk
hero to many.
• In the novel, McCandless acts
like a modern Holden
Caulfield (The Catcher in the
Rye) – he damns the world
for its phoniness, hates his
family (especially his father)
for a dark secret, and seeks a
higher truth that he feels
exists somewhere in the
Alaskan wild.
Public Reactions to Into The Wild
• The book has gathered
international fame and is
considered to be one of
the greatest literary
accomplishments of the
late 20th-Century – an
iconoclastic book – not
because of the plot or its
main character, but
because of what the
novel and its writer
attempt to accomplish.
Why is it considered to be
• Krakauer, a newspaper
journalist, spent years
researching the life of
McCandless and the people
and places along his Alaskan
journey. He wrote a novel
that re-enacts actual
conversations, meetings,
and re-tells the tale of
McCandless in an attempt to
validate the strange
decisions made by
Why is it considered to be
• The point of the novel is
not to tell the story of
McCandless – nor is it
meant to turn
McCandless into a hero.
• Rather, it objectively and
subjectively dissects the
actions and personality
of this young man in an
attempt to humanize
him and make him
John Krakauer and
Christopher McCandless
• Krakauer was drawn to
McCandless and the life
decisions that he made.
Krakauer felt that McCandless’
journey was one that was highly
flawed, selfish, but noble at the
same time.
• Krakauer saw himself in the
young McCandless – Into The
Wild tells more than just the
story of McCandless, but also of
the author. Krakauer journeys
through self-discovery as he
chronicles the physical journey
of Christopher McCandless.
The Product: An Into The Wild
Research Project
• You will work independently to
recreate Krakauer’s novel using a
different person who you are drawn
to – someone who you know a little
about and would like to know
more, or someone you’ve never
heard of before (referred to as the
• Choose from list provided or pitch
another person to Mr. Parizo – and
must be someone who made large,
misunderstood, and possibly
dangerous decisions that society
has either forgotten or has
The Product
• You will research an
individual and recreate key
chapters we read as a class
or read independently
using your subject in place
of McCandless. You will
approach similar concepts
Krakauer approaches.
• In the end, you will have a
completed edition of your
own Into The Wild novel –
titled, researched,
designed, and written by
The Product’s Purpose
• We’ve already studied the
concept of “authentic human
communication” or how we
know more about our own
generation by knowing others,
and how we can know more
about ourselves by knowing
other people, but now we go one
step further.
• The goal is to tell the story of
another human being, whom you
may never meet, and humanize
this person for the class, and to
yourself – seeing if you can find
something in him/her that you
connect with, as Krakauer did
with McCandless.
The Process
• As we read chapters or
have class discussions of
the novel, you will be
responsible to research
and mirror the novel.
• You will be responsible for
systematically researching
and completing certain
tasks/assignments as we
progress through the
• All research must be cited
in the form of a works
cited page (parenthetical
citation is unnecessary)
Example: Into the Wild Section 3
• Part 1: Modeled after Chapter
Four: Tell a story from your
subject’s life that you feel best
represents him/her as a person.
Consider their family,
environments, or events that
shaped that person’s character.
Two pages, narrated in third
• Part 2: Research a writer and a
short story/book that you feel
your subject would relate to as
much as McCandless does to Leo
Tolstoy and Jack London. In one
page, discuss what themes or
concepts your subject would be
drawn to.
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