Into the Wild Essay Most people go into the wilderness to go camping for a week or less than a week, then leave. Some stay for more than a week. Chris McCandless was in the wild for at least one hundred days. “ I’ve decided to live this life for some time to come. The freedom and the beauty of it is too good to pass up.”(pg.92)
In his 1995 essay “The Trouble with Wilderness,” William Cronon declares that “the time has come to rethink wilderness” (69). From the practice of agriculture to masculine frontier fantasies, Cronon argues that Americans have historically defined wilderness as an “island,” separate from their polluted urban industrial homes (69). He traces the idea of wilderness throughout American history, asserting that the idea of untouched, pristine wilderness is a harmful fantasy. By idealizing wilderness from a distance, he argues that people justify the destruction of less sublime landscapes and aggravate environmental conflict.
Going out into the wild all by yourself can be nerve wracking and lonely. Jon Krakauer makes Chris McCandless seemed like a noble person who took the initiative to try to go out and live into the wild. The book Into the Wild written by Jon Krakauer, is about a teenager named Chris McCandless leaving society and traveling to Alaska by himself with nothing else but a bag of rice and a small .22 caliber gun. Chris is heroic because he went to Alaska by himself without any knowledge of Alaska and didn’t know any of the dangers of Alaska. One way Krakauer make Chris seem noble is when Chris is about to enter Alaska he tells Gallien “ I’m goin’ to get on up there live off the land,go claim me a piece of the good life” (Krakauer 4).
Born in A Different Life Life on the road is an idealistic way to escape from societal problems. There is no denying that it grants individuals satisfaction by allowing them to fulfill their goals, as well as providing immense freedom and control over one’s life; however, it is a fundamentally illogical path to take due to nature’s malevolence. In Into The Wild, Krakauer writes a biography about a young man named Chris McCandless, in which he illustrates the similarities between himself and McCandless’s overly ambitious journey to accomplish feats in the wilderness. Coinciding with their similarities, they also faced an oppressive father figure at home, which lead the both of them to believe that their journey will provide them an answer to their problems at home. McCandless planned to survive in Alaska by living off the land while Krakauer wanted to be the first one to climb the Devil’s Thumb.
I had the opportunity to go to Mexico and visit the Yucatan rainforest and this lead me to be able to explore nature and feel the peaceful impact it can have on someone 's life. Chris McCandless was determined to create a new life for himself and be the one to control his own destiny. “Chris changed his name, gave the entire balance of a twenty-four-thousand-dollar savings account to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet…. His family had no idea where he was or what had become of him until his remains turned up in Alaska”. This quote is from Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild and shows how McCandless left everything from his old life in order to create a new life for himself.
Christopher McCandless, the protagonist of the novel and film Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer, is not your average guy. Driven by his minimalist ideals and hate for society, he challenged the status quo and embarked on a journey that eventually lead to his unforeseen demise. A tragic hero, defined by esteemed writer, Arthur Miller, is a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on tragedy. Christopher McCandless fulfills the role of Miller’s tragic hero due to the fact that his tragic flaw of minimalism and aversion towards society had lead him to his death.
In the 2013 online article, “The Chris McCandless Obsession Problem”, author Diana Saverin describes the Alaskan wilderness travel phenomenon along with attempting to uncover the ‘McCandless Pilgrims’ “root of motivation. Sparked by the release of both Jon Krakauer’s and Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild”, numerous individuals pack their backpacks and eagerly step into their (sometimes newly-bought) hiking shoes and tramp into the Alaskan Wild to pay homage to their hero Chris McCandless. Filled with personal anecdotes and interviews, Severin’s Outside article takes a new approach Into the Wild commentary by directing attention to the lives McCandless’s story affected indirectly rather than critiquing on McCandless himself. In response to what appears to be a huge amount of troubled McCandless-inspired tramping stories, Saverin provides an unbiased rationale as a attempt to explain why so many are “willing to risk injury, and even death, to..visit the last home of Alaska’s most famous adventure casualty”. Saverin begins her article with anecdote- telling the unfortunate experience of young lovers and adept adventure seekers, Ackerman and Gros.
When thinking of the wilderness one might picture a scene from a camp site. Untamed dense forest, and endless jungle probably come first to mind and although this might be one meaning of wilderness, Mellor’s perception of wilderness and pastoral opens our thoughts on how we view the unpredictable and the known. In “Lure Of The Wilderness” by Leo Mellor, he shows the meaning of the unexplored wilderness and the surprises that come with the unknown, while humans try to tame what is wild and create a pastoral environment around them. Mellor’s writing helps understand hidden aspects in the short story “Wild” by Lesley Arimah, when Ada is blindsided with a plane ticket to visit her aunt in Africa. She travels to a place mostly unknown to her, besides the relatives living there.
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ―Maya Angelou. Jon Krakauer’s true story titled Into the Wild is about a man who decides to throw away his old life and escape the rules of conventional society. Twenty-two-year-old Chris McCandless came from a well-to-do family in Virginia and, without warning, abandons everything. He changes his name, loses contact with his family, gives away his car and all his money, and begins a two-year long journey hitchhiking to Alaska where he eventually dies of starvation.
When McCandless graduated from college, he found the possibility to go away for a while, “He had fled the claustrophobic confines of his family” (Krakauer 55). McCandless could finally go away looking for a journey full of adventures, but he wasn’t going to five stars hotels or luxurious places. His journey was precarious and wild, that was exactly what he was looking for. Places that were difficult for someone to reach and loneliness was abundant, the only interaction was with nature and savage animals. Happiness engulfed McCandless when backpacking anywhere, it was his joy.
In the words of John Krakauer “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.” If asked to describe Chris Mcandless in Into The Wild one could say that he is simply foolish. Chris could have lived a longer life if he would have stayed in the comfort of his own hometown. Chris’ common sense was obliterated by his time in the wilderness. Not only did he throw common sense to the wind, he also went into the wild leaving behind many people who loved and cared deeply about him.
In the beginning of chapter 8, Krakauer blatantly states all these strangers’ opinions about McCandless’s death to the reader. These honest and blunt opinions that were stated against McCandless causes one to realize that McCandless’s peril was one hundred percent absurd and puerile. After reading others opinions on his death, it made me resent McCandless even more than I did. “Personally I see nothing positive at all about Chris McCandless’s lifestyle or wilderness doctrine.” (page 71) another opinion states, “McCandless had already gone over the edge and just happened to hit bottom in Alaska.”
Chris McCandless abandoned the modern world and chose the wild because he believed that he could improve himself through living in the wild, and found the true happiness of the life. McCandless abandoned his wealthy family because of his complicated relationship with his father, and he was ashamed with his father’s adultery. Therefore, McCandless believed that human relationship was not the only thing that forms happiness, instead a man’s connection with the nature brings joy as well. He also believed the habitual lifestyle was not what people were meant to do, and people shouldn't have more possessions than what they need. For this reason, McCandless traveled with little effects.
Into The Wild portrays a man who went on a fatal unforgettable journey through the alaska wilderness. Chris McCandless was a man with great courage and the ability to live on his own made him more of a hero going on his fatal journey. Many would say he was foolish or not thinking right, but that is not the case. The case here is simply a man with courage wanting to fulfill is beliefs through his journey. One may ask what is courage.
American wilderness stories depict wild-nature as separate from human and as only pure and grand when it meets the criterion of being free from human intervention--emptiness. The components of these stories is really a recipe for constructing and embedding settler-colonial logics in the the minds of the citizenry. John Muir’s, My First Summer in the Sierra Nevada, does an effective job at achieving this. Just like Christopher McCandless in Jon Krakauer’s, Into the Wild, he fetishizes land that is free from human intervention, referring to the mountains, groves, and waterfalls as “glorious mountain sublimities” by which man’s “worldly cares are cast out, and freedom and beauty and peace come in” (Muir 11, 25). Quintessential dualism, he is segregating the human world from the non-human world; polarizing the relationship while acquiring the land for his own pleasure and therapy (Jacobs 28; Glenn 6).