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Into the Wild is a Biopic by Sean Penn based on the 1996 book of the same name by Jon Krakauer about the adventures of Christopher McCandless. The book and movie chronicle the life of Chris as a young man resentful of society and his family, who decides after graduating college to spend a few years travelling around and living off the land in Alaska. The book is written from the perspective of Posthumous Narration and serves as a How We Got Here look at Chris' brief life and final days.

Because the story's premise - that the protagonist leaves society, tries living on his own and ends up dying - is so well-known, there is no need to mark it as a spoiler.

Not to be confused with the first book of the Warrior Cats series.


The book and film provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Tracy, a girl who had a crush on McCandless, was briefly mentioned in the book. In the movie, she is given more screen time.
  • An Aesop: "Happiness only real when shared."
  • Apocalyptic Log: The diary Chris leaves behind, including a note begging for help from anyone coming across his encampment.
  • Character Development
  • City Mouse
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Where are all the fucking animals?! I'M FUCKING HUNGRY!"
  • Deconstruction: Of the Kerouac beatnik lifestyle. Chris experiences the immense freedom of living without boundaries or connections to the world but is also shown as hopelessly naive about his plan and incredibly unprepared to deal with the real consequences of his decisions. In the end, he dies because the society he so loathed was the only thing really protecting him.
  • Defector From Decadence: Chris' father was an aerospace engineer and his family was quite wealthy. Before starting his journey, he had originally planned to go to law school with money he had saved.
  • Doomed Protagonist
  • Downer Ending
  • The Film of the Book
  • Fond Memories That Could Have Been
  • Foregone Conclusion: Before the movie came out, pretty much the only thing everyone knew about it was: rich kid wanders off into the woods, lives in a bus, dies. It's even on the cover of the book.
  • Green Aesop: Chris thinks this is the point of his journey. He's wrong.
  • Go Out with a Smile
  • The Hero Dies
  • How We Got Here: The book begins with the last time Chris was seen alive and essentially traces back everything that happened up to his death.
  • Irony: McCandless leaves in part to get away from his family, but the people he meets in his journey all develop a sort of familial attachment to him and in the end, the very place he wanted to be was with his family.
  • Lonely Rich Kid
  • No Antagonist: Except himself, that is. Not to mention the full wrath of the Alaskan winter.
  • Parental Neglect
  • Peaceful in Death
  • River of Insanity
  • Scenery Porn: Come on. It is Alaska, after all.
  • Secret Other Family/Your Cheating Heart: The book reveals that the reason for McCandless's resentment of his parents is that he discovered that his father was already married to another woman and had a family with her, and his mother kept it a secret and pretended nothing was wrong out of the sake of their reputation.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog
  • Too Dumb to Live: Despite appearing to be a smart person, Chris isn't quite as Genre Savvy about living in the wild as he thinks he is.
    • On the other hand, he survived 2 years Walking the Earth with comparatively little problem, and was able to survive in Alaska for quite a while, only dying (if the film's depiction of events is accurate) because of making a stupid mistake and having the bad luck to not have the strength to get back to civilization before he died. Also, people familiar with the area have noted that if Chris had enough foresight to get a map of the region, he would have known there was a bridge with a few miles of his camp to cross that swollen river and thus he could have reached civilization after a bit of a hike.
  • Walking the Earth
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Chris' relationship with his father is like this in some ways.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: The general opinion expressed by people the author interviews.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue
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