Into the wild essay (Jon Krauker)



Into the Wild Persuasive Essay Outline

The idea of the effects of society and cultural norms intrigues me the most. It is fascinating to explore the different cultural norms that are dictated by society and the freedom that can be achieved by this detachment. This is supported by the sociological factors involved in the story because Chris McCandless followed an intentionally celibate and solitary lifestyle.
Tentative thesis:
This paper will explore the reasons that prompted a person to be detached from the society, mainly focusing on the point if it is because of nature or nurture.
Research Questions:
1.What is the effect of family dynamics and upbringing of parents to one’s decision to be detached from society? Is nurture from parents the reason for one’s passionate enjoyment in risking his life in the wilderness?
2.How can a person’s self-denial be contributory cause to his inclination for seeking thrill or is the passion for dangerous adventure was simply a natural inclination?
3.How is this reason for detachment embarked by a person’s pursuit for self discovery and ultimate happiness?
4.What are the factors that made him reject cultural norms and traditions in the society?
5.What caused his decision to discard his identity and past life without a backward look ? and Is there a connection between his sociological perspectives about nature?

**Persuade the readers that McCandless left because of his own desire to explore himself and to go “against society’s norms” and not because of his family issues

You are working with general ideas about the book and investigating them further to help you know what really matters to you. The book is loaded with interesting issues! Yet you are seeing at the forums that we have many differing perspectives about the issues, as we should. For some of you, the notion that McCandless left in haste calls your attention. For others, there’s concern about his welfare and lacking inexperience with the wild. Others are even asking who are his greatest influences and at what point does an influence become detrimental. This is where we start, with big ideas. Once you have a rough outline of ideas, it is important to recognize that you have an audience.
As you write your paper, keep in mind that there is a larger audience out there interested in your topic. Depending on your thesis, that audience might be very interested in psychology or nature or mental health issues or family of origin issues or nutrition or romantic writers and wanderers or even basic survival, and sociological phenomena. To connect with that common audience that your paper is actually speaking to, it is important to seek outside sources that allow you to summarize people or organizations known in particular fields.
For example, you might quote the Sierra Club if you are writing a paper about outdoor survival. You might quote Psychology Today Magazine if you are writing about the troubled mind of an obsessed youth. Even though this is YOUR story to tell about YOUR interpretation of the book, you want YOUR people interested in your perspective. So, in a way, this paper is all about developing your voice. While we know you didn’t write Into the Wild, you are taking an important stance about a topic from the book that you connect with–one way or another–and you are sharing that with an audience. I strongly suggest that you use the best sources you can find.
Your main source is Into The Wild, of course, but beyond the book, you must find two more sources, and we call these outside sources. Your job is to capture the best bits of information so that the words of the writers you find support YOUR thesis. That’s right. Since YOU are the “authority” of your points, the sources you find support YOU. Not the other way around—the sources are “working” for you. You use their ideas from sources to SUPPORT your ideas, and this is true whether you quote, paraphrase, or summarize.
This is why questions and a rough outline are so important: By knowing what intrigues you and getting it on paper, you can begin to move down the path of

research. For example, let’s say you found yourself curious about Walt and Chris’s relationship, and therefore, you added this research questions to your outline: What drove Chris to leave home and cut off communication from his father? This is a question many psychologists are also curious about, so you search “psychology.” You look in noteworthy places, such as Psychology Today where you will find articles about maturity, personality characteristics, PTSD, etc.
Utilizing quality source material lets you practice being an authoritative writer–the one with a curiosity, a list of questions, a claim, and an audience who is intrigued with what you have to say. You have readers. And therefore, it is important to use key and top sources to support your claim. At first it might feel awkward taking the position of authority, but that’s who we are—writers are the authorities of their own thoughts. To be credible writer, we use the best sources we can find.
1. Paraphrasing and Summarizing (and what needs citing)
Paraphrasing means “rewording” a passage, but keeping the new, reworded idea about the same length as the original. We paraphrase shorter passages that capture a significant point. If I find a passage that is 2 lines of text, my rewording should also be 2 lines or so. And, since the “idea” belongs to another writer, I must cite the source in two places: IN THE BODY of my essay AND on a works cited list. Both are required in the final draft. (See your online textbook for MLA citation rules).
Summarizing is a little different. We use this skill when we’ve read something longer, perhaps a paragraph in length, and we want the ideas but not the whole entire passage. So, we summarize; we put the passage in our own words and minimize the size. Ten lines of text, thanks to our rewording, become three lines of text. Again, the citation rules apply to summarizing just as they do to paraphrasing.
2. Patterns of Opposition
It is important to have a good sense of the other side of the argument. If you argue that McCandless simply wants a quiet life of solitude, it is essential to be aware of and acknowledge that the other side of the argument exists; McCandless abandoned family life and contributed to a certain level of emotional distraught to those who loved him. Good writers see both sides, and very good writers find a place in the essay to show that they understand or see the other side, but they never sabotage their argument. They keep strong boundaries and show their understanding of varying viewpoints.
3. Quoting (and what needs citing)

We use quotes when we find something that is said so well, so convincingly succinct, that we don’t want to tamper with it. We chose to preserve it. So we put quotations around the passage and give due credit to the writer, again, in the body of the paper and in the works cited list.
Quotes should never fall from the sky and into your paper. Their purpose is to hook the reader or support your side. Sometimes they highlight controversy, too, but they are always massaged nicely into the paper, blending with your point of view or making a clear stand for a point you are arguing. Offer a quick introduction about the person who said the quote or plant the quote in the middle of a paragraph and then summarize it’s significance, but don’t let it just hang out in your paper with no explanation or purpose. Quotes should be saved for that special moment or two when you really want to show off your understanding of your topic.


You will write an analysis essay that persuades your reader to consider an important issue from Into the Wild. Your essay will be 3-5 pages, double-spaced, and will feature one of the topics below or a topic you have created. You will use your own words, quotes from the book, and two outside sources. You will create a thesis statement and create clear, developed paragraphs that support your thesis. Your essay should be persuasive.
Please see all the handouts that show you an overview about managing time, finding sources, writing a thesis, and getting organized. You can find these handouts in the assignments tab under “online textbook.” They are all required reading.


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