Wilderness, the West and the Myth of the Frontier in Sean Penn’s Into the Wild

  • Laura I. H. Beattie Freie Universität Berlin


This article investigates the representation of wilderness in Sean Penn’s Into the Wild, specifically with regards to the myth of the American frontier. By using the myth of the frontier as a structure through which to read the film, we discover that the film proves William Cronon’s thesis that the idea of wilderness as an anti-human place is merely a human construct.

Author Biography

Laura I. H. Beattie, Freie Universität Berlin
Having graduated from the University of St Andrews with an MA Hons degree in English and Latin, Laura is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in English Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin where her research interests lie in the varied fields of Renaissance literature, the American novel and film and, recently, ecocriticism.
How to Cite
Beattie, Laura. 2013. “Wilderness, the West and the Myth of the Frontier in Sean Penn’s Into the Wild”. FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & The Arts, no. 16 (June), 1 - 10. https://forumjournal.org/article/view/521.