One's Meaningful Life: Into The Wild By Jon Krakauer

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Katelynn Van Mrs. Case ERWC, period 3 18 January 2018 One’s Meaningful Life One’s meaning of life cannot be measured by someone else but only by that person himself. A meaningful life is determined on whether or not the person died without regrets and if they died happily. In the biography Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (1997), the protagonist Christopher McCandless discovers the meaning of life. Told in first person reportage, Krakauer addresses the theme by describing the settings of McCandless’s journey, establishing the main conflict of Chris McCandless trying to survive in the wilderness of Alaska, and incorporating the literary devices of irony, characterization, and theme. Krakauer’s purpose is to expose McCandless’s story and what had…show more content…
In Into the Wild, Chris McCandless, a young man who left his family, took on a new name, and ventured out into the wild in Alaska, to find his meaning of life, wrote a letter to Ronald Franz, someone he had met on his journey. “You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships … Astonishingly, the eighty - one - year - old man took the brash twenty - four - year - old vagabond’s advice to heart” (Krakauer, 57-58). McCandless was telling Ron to have an adventure, to experience life without too many materialistic things, and to enjoy life simply and as it is. Ron was influenced to hit the road due to Chris’s character, the way he had lived life, and through the advice he constantly told him. While in South Dakota, McCandless wrote to Ron “If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter - skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty” (Krakauer, 57). Chris urges Ron to leave behind his safe life in Salton City, California and explains to Ron that there is no comfort in a settled life. Ron will begin to encounter an adventurous existence once he welcomes this style. McCandless was and is an inspiration to many people. His impact on Ron was evidently the strongest during his…show more content…
Henry David Thoreau is a naturalist and philosopher who strongly believed in transcendentalism and Hindu philosophy. In his book, Walden, Thoreau stated “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth…” (Thoreau, par 18). Just like Thoreau, McCandless wanted the truth, the meaning of one’s life, and its purpose, instead of materialistic things. He wanted to live life “realistically” and to live in the moment. With the intent of living simplistically, Chris had also hoped to find his meaning of life. “McCandless was thrilled to be on his way north, and he was relieved as well—relieved that he had again evaded the impending threat of human intimacy, of friendship, and all the messy emotional baggage that comes with it. He had fled the claustrophobic confines of his family. He’d successfully kept Jan Burres and Wayne Westerberg at arm’s length, flitting out of their lives before anything was expected of him. And now he’d slipped painlessly out of Ron Franz’s life as well" (55). Chris was trying to ignore the responsibilities and bonds of relationships by going into the wilderness, where he only has himself to account to. By doing this, he was able to avoid the harm being done to those who love him when he risks his safety and his life. Leo Tolstoy, a Russian author, wrote a book titled “Family Happiness.” From this book, McCandless highlighted “I wanted movement and not a calm course of
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