In Krakauer’s Into the Wild, Chris McCandless is depicted as a multifaceted individual — idealist, reckless youth, aspirant, and scholar of existence. Although a multitude of factors contributed to McCandless’ perspective, Krakauer makes sure to honor the fact that his subject was an avid reader.
One of the greatest sources of inspiration for the force known as Alexander Supertramp was the work of Jack London. As a naturalist interested in the conflict between Man and his surroundings, London crafted pieces that explore what happens when an individual is thrust into survivalist situations. Needless to say, McCandless enjoyed these writings.
If you are a member of Junior Honors English, click the link for an extra-credit opportunity!
THE TASK: Read Jack London’s short story To Build a Fire (click here for the PDF) and respond to the following prompts by using the “Leave a Reply” feature at the bottom of the page. For full (extra) credit, your responses must consist of complete sentences and demonstrate active engagement.
A) What are your overall thoughts about the story? How would you review it?
B) Select a passage from the text and analyze it closely. What about this passage moves you? Is there anything puzzling about this excerpt? Elaborate!
C) Having read TO BUILD A FIRE, what do you make of Supertramp’s fascination with Jack London?