2 Free WriteIn a 5-minute free-write response, respond to this quote from chapter 17 (p. 184): McCandless wasn’t some feckless slacker, adrift and confused, racked by existential despair. To the contrary: His life hummed with meaning and purpose. But the meaning he wrested from existence lay beyond the comfortable path: McCandless distrusted the value of things that came easily. He demanded much of himself—more, in the end, than he could deliver.
3 Analyzing ContentThink about the Essential Question: What is Success? Do you think Chris McCandless was successful at achieving his goal? Why or Why not? List at least three examples from the text to support your opinion.Reread pages in Chapter 16. Explain how the passage from Walden relates to McCandless and his Alaskan adventure. What did Chris find most interesting in Thoreau’s discussion of food? Why?Ch. 16 gives a synopsis of the last few months of McCandless’s life – from entering Alaska to trying to escape (and failing). How does Krakauer describe McCandless at this point? How is this different from earlier descriptions?
4 Text StructureCh. 17 interrupts the flow of the narrative by describing Chris’ equipment, the river, and the others with him. He doesn’t arrive at the bus until four pages into the chapter. Is this an effective writing strategy? Why or why not?Krakauer says that because McCandless had gotten rid of his map, he had a kind of “idiosyncratic logic.” Explain what he means by this. Do you agree or disagree with Krakauer? Explain why.
5 MistakesMake a list of the various miscalculations and mistakes that McCandless made in Chapters 16-18, citing page numbers for each.Which miscalculation or mistake likely put McCandless at “the point of no return”? Why was this such a crucial moment in his journey?
6 “I have had a happy life…” Read the last paragraph of Chapter 18 and respond:How does Krakauer know that McCandless “was at peace, serene as a monk gone to God”? Explain.Does Krakauer have the right to infer from the photograph that McCandless had the serenity of a monk? Why or why not?What is an alternative impression of the photograph?
7 Free WriteDiscuss what Chris means by the following quote, as well as what it means to you: Happiness is only real when shared.
8 ThemesAnswer each of the following questions, providing textual evidence and explanation for each.Do you think Chris was a Narcissist?Do you think Chris was a Hero?Do you think Chris was unprepared?Do you think Chris was a rebel?Do you think Chris was successful?Do you think Chris’s story is one worth telling?
9 Book Review What did you like about this book and why? Would you recommend that others read it? Why or why not?What theme was the strongest for you? Why?Look back through your annotations and write down a passage that impacted you the most (good or bad). Explain its impact.