This epigraph is referred to famous author, Jack London, who has written several stories about man’s survival against harsh nature in the terrain of Alaska and the Yukon. The work of London was one of McCandless’ inspirations for his quest. This epigraph is then followed by one of the quote from London’s novel White Fang. Thereby, Krakauer succeeded in bringing his reader’s attention to the unforgivable hostility of Alaska, where McCandless’ body was discovered by hunters.Similarly, chapter 3 has the words “Absolute freedom” preceding it. The simple two words beautifully describe the extreme change that the readers are about to read about a young man with bright promising future to a self-made loner. The freedom is from all the worldly parameters of happy life and success. McCandless focuses on the idea of detaching himself. He has discovered that he does not even need camaraderie to make his life worthwhile.Likewise, in chapter 5, Krakauer referred to Jack London’s Call of the Wild. His over- confident and blind belief in his ability to hide his true inner strength leads to this unprepared misfortunate venture. Chapter 7 have quoted what makes the readers feel sorry for the protagonist.
After discovering his parents’ weaknesses, McCandless’ attempts to find “meaning and order in life”. Krakauer have used quotes from authors such as Thoreau and Twain, as well as copies of letters that put in plain words some of McCandless’ internal feelings. Therefore, as we can conclude that the epigraphs have a significant role in Into the Wilds, not only for the narrative of the story line but also for the understanding of the deepest mayhem in McCandless’ mind. They also give insight into the author, Krakauer’s thoughts and feelings. His beliefs and the work of other people which have inspired him are evident from these epigraphs. They have made his work intriguing and he has successfully used them as “thematic gatekeeper by taking excerpts from influential authors to introduce people to your own ideas” (“Epigraph”). He has efficiently used the seemingly insignificant opening words to instructively increase the reader’s interest. Without the use of epigraphs Into the Wild, it could mislead its readers and the point of view of McCandless would have been difficult to understand and justify.