Composition

 

Beginning

The letter starts with McCandless introducing himself to Ron – “Alex here” (p. 208, l. 1) – and presenting his current situation: “I have been working up here in Carthage, South Dakota for nearly two weeks now. I arrived up here three days after we parted in Grand Junction, Colorado” (p. 208, ll. 1-3). Note that the letter does not start in a traditional way, with “Dear Ron”. Instead, McCandless jumps directly into presenting his points. This hints at the familiarity between the two. It also gives further insight into McCandless' personality.

McCandless also asks Ron about the March 20 Rainbow Gathering at the hot springs, which is most likely a reference to a conversation they previously had. Furthermore, in the beginning of the letter, McCandless tells Ron about his plans for the future: “I have my soul set entirely on my Alaskan Odyssey” (p. 208, ll. 15-16) and gives him information about his new address.

Middle

The main body of the text contains McCandless’ advice...

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