A Walk in the Woods Themes

Bill Bryson
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Themes

The central theme which runs through all of A Walk in the Woods is the difference between two quite separate worlds: the civilized world of home and the wild world of the untamed wilderness. Bryson is constantly amazed at the ease with which one passes into the latter and the difficulty of returning to the former. America, he points out, is still full of vast woods in which an individual can be lost or killed. When Bryson leaves the tame confines of civilization, he experiences the psychological states which are part of life in the wild. These states become the important themes of his story.

Fear is the first psychological reaction to the woods considered by Bryson. He observes early in his narrative that "woods are spooky. Quite apart from the thought that they may harbor wild beasts and armed, genetically challenged fellows named Zeke and Festus, there...

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This section contains 1,311 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Walk in the Woods Study Guide
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