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Who Is Jack London in 'Into the Wild'

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Chris McCandless’ literary heroes were not opposite from each other but they were not the same either. Tolstoy, London, and Thoreau were all considered great minds of their times, just reading their works gives me an understanding of why he would be influenced by these great minds. ~These authors influenced Chris in his moral principles and his aspirations to embark on this journey which inspired Krakauer to write this very book.~ I think Jack London inspired McCandless the most out of the three authors because I see London as the most different of the three authors and Chris’ actions resembled London the most.

Jack London was born into a very painful situation, with neither parents dominating in being parental figures in his life, an ex-slave handed over the baby and became the maternal figure for London throughout his childhood. Once, Jack’s mother married John London, Jack came to live with the couple and they moved around the Bay Area of California. Finally, they settled for Oakland and London made himself become essentially self-educated by taking many trips to the public library, where he found his desire of literary aspirations. He worked grueling jobs that consisted of working at canneries, being a window washer, and the California Fish Patrol, all these jobs involved working 12 to 18-hour shifts. London went to UC Berkley but never graduated because he was never able to support himself financially and the Panic of ’93 gave him no choice but to begin his career as a tramp. He was one of the first writers to make a remunerative career out of writing, and he was a celebrity and well-known person during his period, and he was a very adventurous person that still liked to travel. During his second marriage, he bought a boat and sailed for 27 months in the Pacific and he bought a ranch where spent many days horseback riding and doing a lot of other outdoor activities.

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McCandless and London could not have been more opposite in their backgrounds but their personalities are parallel. They were both hurt by their past, McCandless had to deal with his father’s infidelities, and London struggled with being unaccepted by his father. London was most famous for his three novels White Fang, Sea Wolf, and Call of the Wild, where some of which were found with Chris’ remains. These stories with settings taking place in extremely cold conditions somehow influenced Chris to embark on the same journeys. I think Chris saw how ambitious London was towards his writing and took the same ambitions and enthusiasm but misused it by applying it to the perilous peregrinations that killed him. This makes me that London was the most influential out of the three authors because Chris talked himself into doing something so irrational, just because he read one of London’s books that talks about the struggle to survive in extreme conditions. They both ended their lives with a lot of potentials never seen to grow, even though London died at the mid-age of forty.

McCandless admired these three writers because they all did not have the desire to conform with other writers or the standards of writing, or philosophies.~ Tolstoy was a fictional writer that influenced Chris to have refined moral principles that Krakauer felt that should be mentioned in the book. Tolstoy was a strong central figure in Russian literature and contradicted other contemporaries that were at his level of popularity and I think that is why McCandless admired him. Thoreau wrote a book that gave readers the impression that he was a cranky hermit but, he was later praised for Civil Disobedience that enlightened the world of politics as well as literature. London was an adventurous writer who traveled in all these places which inspired him to write all his praised works. London’s lucrative success in writing motivated Chris to apply something to his life that would push him to his fullest limit that could not have been fulfilled in school or, in the real world working a steady job.

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Who Is Jack London in ‘Into the Wild’. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from
“Who Is Jack London in ‘Into the Wild’.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023,
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Who Is Jack London in ‘Into the Wild’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2023 Dec 6]. Available from:
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