Into the Wild: Chapter 7 Summary

Instructor: Lauren Boivin

Lauren has taught English at the university level and has a master's degree in literature.

This lesson provides an overview of Chapter 7 of Jon Krakauer's ''Into the Wild,'' which gives an account of Chris McCandless's last sojourn among friends before he headed north for his Alaskan adventure.

Back in Carthage

After departing from his friend Ron in the previous chapter, Chapter 7 of Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild begins in March 1992, when Chris McCandless shows up at Wayne Westerberg's grain elevator in Carthage, South Dakota. He was ready to work, he declared, and he would be there until April 15, at which time he would leave for Alaska.

Chris and Wayne picked up their friendship right where they had left it. Chris dove back into the rough and dirty work of grain processing with alacrity. He was intent on earning enough money to buy the gear he would need for his Alaskan adventure, and Wayne was glad to have the extra help.

Gail Boran

In this chapter, we also meet Gail Boran, who is Wayne's sometimes girlfriend. Gail invited Chris over for dinner almost every night. They spent a lot of time together, and Chris liked to talk with Gail. ''He said he could tell me things that he couldn't tell the others,'' Gail said. Gail even succeeded in getting Chris to go out dancing at one point. ''It was hard to get him out on the dance floor,'' Gail remembers, ''but once he was out there, he wouldn't sit down.''

Lady Friends

Even though Chris had many friends who were women, like Gail, it seems he never had any real romantic relationships. There was one girl, Tracy, who had a crush on Chris while he was staying with Jan and Bob, and his sister Carine tells about one night in high school when Chris got drunk and tried to take a girl up to his bedroom. They made so much noise going up the stairs that his mom woke up and sent the girl home. But that seems about the extent of Chris's romantic entanglements. Krakauer postulates that Chris valued the ideas put forth in Tolstoy's ''The Kreutzer Sonata,'' wherein Tolstoy ''denounces 'the demands of the flesh'.''

Chris's Family

In Chapter 5, Krakauer collects some information from Wayne and Gail about their impressions of Chris's relationship with his family. Gail remembers, ''It was pretty obvious he didn't get along with his family, but he never said much about any of them except Carine, his little sister.'' Initially, Krakauer writes, ''Westerberg, for his part, didn't concern himself with McCandless's family problems.'' In retrospect, however, Wayne tells Krakauer that, if he had the chance to see Chris again, ''I'd be tempted to chew him out good: What the hell were you thinking? Not speaking to your family for all that time, treating them like dirt!''

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