Quote 2

“Hey Guys! This is the last communication you shall receive from me. I now walk out to live amongst the wild. Take care, it was great knowing you. ALEXANDER. (69)

As he travels, Christopher McCandless sends a number of letters and postcards to the people he meets on his journeys in the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest. He follows up with them despite his frequent insistence that he wants nothing more to do with other people, and they become a source of significant narrative information for Krakauer as he constructs his account of McCandless’s trajectory. In the brief postcard quoted here, McCandless’s use of capital letters and the formal spelling of his false name, Alexander, suggests that as he embarks on the final leg of his trip into Denali National Park he has totally transformed himself into a solitary person ready to leave the world behind forever. In addition, the brevity of his language suggests resolve, but it could also be read as an admission that he was not brave enough to say a final goodbye to his friends in person. As such, it points up the failure to communicate implicit in almost all of McCandless’s communications and decisions.

Christopher McCandless’s emotional state emerges through the postcard’s seemingly insignificant style. The formal, almost silly “shall” and the hyperbolic, unintentionally prophetic phrase “This is the last communication you will receive from me” seem to depict McCandless’s determination but also his naïve idea of his project. Most significant, however, is the sentence, “I now walk out to live amongst the wild.” He goes without help, under his own power, to meet his destiny, but he describes that destiny in abstract, poetic terms that both lend it gravity and fail to demonstrate that he knows anything at all about what awaits him. Krakauer’s decision to include this postcard (as well as others in the text) adds realism and power to his narrative. By the same token, however, it also evidences the idea that only McCandless’s own words, however obscure and bare they might be, could give the reader an accurate sense of his state of mind or his rationale for heading into the wild.