Jon Krakauer's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

595 Words3 Pages

Advertised as the land of the free and a beacon of hope and opportunity, America is a nation where a single ideal has drawn masses of immigrants who conquer difficulties. When one ideal has shaped the history of an entire nation, one must ponder the meaning of the American Dream. The American Dream manifests itself in Christopher McCandless’s journey to the West as chronicled by Jon Krakauer’s book, Into the Wild. It weaves itself into the fabric of every American story, such as that of Maya Angelou’s memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Moreover, it finds itself voiced by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. The American Dream is the guarantee of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and self-determination through hard work regardless of social categorization, as seen through McCandless’s pursuit of happiness, while …show more content…

According to McCandless, “[Joy} is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living” (Krakauer 57). By turning against the materialistic world in which he grew up, McCandless was free to pursue happiness and truth where he believed it laid. He chose to create a new life, “one in which he would be free to wallow in unfiltered experience” (Krakauer 23). McCandless was able to forge his own path forward to be content with life, and he even changing his name to Alex Supertramp, conveying his new life (Krakauer 23). The ability to forge one’s path is a part of the American Dream. Furthermore, diligence characterizes the American Dream. McCandless’s belief that “a challenge in which a successful outcome is assured isn’t a challenge at all” (Krakauer 182) reflects this statement. McCandless’s beliefs and attempts to survive note the necessity of perseverance and

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