A Walk in the Woods has a unique relationship to the concept of isolation. On one hand, Bill Bryson decides to hike the Appalachian Trail in the first place because of its isolation—it gives him a much-needed break from the increasingly fast-paced modern world.
On the other, his buddy Stephen Katz goes on the trip in order to escape the isolation of his everyday life. Despite these differences, both men end up learning a lot about their relationships with other people—and themselves—once everything is said and done.
Questions About Isolation
Does Byson end up enjoying the isolation of the AT? Explain.
How does Katz' loneliness affect his decision to join Bryson on the AT?
Why do Katz and Bryson make such good travel partners?
Do you think the AT would be better if it touched a few tiny towns, as Bryson suggests?
Chew on This
Although Bryson enjoys the feeling of being alone on the AT, he eventually craves the comfort of human contact.
The real reason why Katz joins Bryson on the AT is that his home life is incredibly lonely.