Discovering Chris McCandless In the nonfiction book, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer some people need money and flashy things to be happy but Chris McCandless only needs himself and nature. McCandless is hubris , adventurous and determined. These are just some of his characteristics. He has a deep love for nature and nobody can ever take that away from him.
Jon Krakauer's Into The WIld glorifies the journey of a young man, Chris McCandless. In efforts to make his life better by living in solitude, McCandless traveled all across America for two years exploring all different places to find a challenging, yet hospitable, place for him to leave. Chris took this step in his life to escape family issues and harassment and successfully lived for two years as Alex McCandless traveling through the West, South, and making his way to the Alaskan wilderness where he unfortunately faced his downfall. In August of 1992 on the Alaskan Stampede trail, Chris died of starvation, and Krakauer tracked his footsteps and journey after three years to understand Chris as person and why he made the decisions he made.
Chris made a decision that he beloved would fulfill his most greatest desires and then finally find peace within himself. Chris went into the wild unprepared but some didn't believe he'd dare go farther out into the wild with the very little equipment he had. In chapter 1 Westerberg claims "I figured he’d be OK… I thought he’d probably get hungry pretty quick and just walk out to the
He was living the life he wanted to but he did not find happiness. I believe Chris found freedom and independence. In the Bus where Chris’s body was found, Chris wrote on sheet of weathered plywood where he wrote a his independence, “ Two years he walks the earth. No phone, No pool, No pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom.
How would you react if you felt that your whole childhood was fake? If every happy and cherished moment spent with your parents as a child now just concealed itself in your memory as a lie? Well that’s how one young man felt after discovering a secret hidden from him by his parents for two whole decades. Chris McCandless was an intelligent person academically, truthful to himself and others, as well as an adventurous person who had an insightful view on the world. Chris despised phony people and being told what to do by others, so he wanted to live life by his own terms.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”- Henry David Thoreau. Transcendentalism is an American philosophy that revolves around self-reliance and independence, commonly in nature, a Transcendentalist wants to find the true meaning in life. I believe that Chris McCandless was a Transcendentalist because he was able to leave his whole life behind and take on a minimalist lifestyle while having a strong relationship with god. However, I believe that I am not a Transcendentalist, but simply an adventurer.
A common thought among adolescents is the dream to finally leave home and discover who they are; I certainly share this dream. Though the concept is common, the reasons are unique; The differences in character and circumstances define who a person is. What may appear reasonable to some could very well be completely irrational to another. The story of Chris McCandless as reported by Jon Krakauer in the biographic novel Into the Wild is no exception. From the events in his childhood to the conflict with his father, we can see that Chris McCandless, a young man still discovering himself, became disillusioned with the structure of society and desired nothing more than to “no longer be poisoned by civilization” (163).
Before and during his journey he read books by men who heavily focused their lives on philosophy, even their stories carried out their messages of their philosophy on life; which I’m sure influenced, if not, inspired Chris to seek out these philosophies first hand to experience himself. Leo Tolstoy rejected his inherited and earned wealth, similar to how Chris decided to leave a very abundant wealthy life that was in the grasp of his fingers. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a very bright man, who could’ve made such a
“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.
According to Krakauer, who wrote the book of Chris McCandless’ life “Into The Wild”, Chris McCandless was a nonconformist that wasn't a good fit into society, within his own mind, and searching for himself out in the wilderness, from what I can perceive. I believe he had found what he was looking for right before his passing in the wild. He was always adventuring out when he was younger, by instinct. His parents were never really there with him or for him in a mental figurative way. He always believed the answers to everything was in the wild and in nature.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived” is an excerpt from “Walden,” one of the many texts that had influence on McCandless(Thoreau). Through his various annotations and markings on texts such as “Walden,” readers are able to identify McCandless’ overall purpose for shunning society, as clearly indicated in this excerpt, which was to reach some sort of epiphany or realization about his identity and life in general. Towards the end of Chris’ time spent in Alaska, he actually does reach an epiphany, that “…happiness [is] only real when shared…” (qtd. in Krakauer 189). This statement, written by McCandless, indicates that perhaps he had become more forgiving, tender-hearted, and finally appreciated the value of relationships.
On his expedition across the United States, Chris McCandless was unprepared for obstacles. In Into the Wild, an observation of McCandless is “His gear seemed exceedingly minimal for the harsh conditions of the interior; which in April still lay buried under the winter snowpack” (Krakauer 5). McCandless planned to live in the Alaskan wilderness for an extended period of time with gear that was insufficient for the weather and terrain. The bitter temperatures, rough terrain, and aggressive wildlife characteristic of Alaska’s backcountry require sufficient preparation and supplies for survival. Additionally, McCandless only brought a basic map with him which he later threw away “Because he has no topographic map, however, he had no way of conceiving
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.
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.