The Foolish Christopher McCandless of “Into The Wild” by Jon Krakauer
Christopher was a boy who was born in a rich East Coast family. He graduated from one of the best universities in the United States. However, he wasn’t content with his life and didn’t know what the truth about his existence was. Therefore, he decided to abandon his family and society to find his sincere self, which was his vital target. He thought that he wasn’t the person that he was supposed to be. Clearly, he was ready to sacrifice himself to find his original self and his true being. He went on a long journey that ended in Alaska. After living alone for 112 days, he died due to starvation. Life is a gift which is given by God.
In life, we all have some responsibilities to implement, such as worshiping, serving our parents, and serving and protecting our countries, which are holy tasks. We all encounter hardships and crises. Nevertheless, Christopher ignored all of these responsibilities and pursued his selfish thought. Therefore, I believe that he was surely foolish. Have you ever seen a hero who has run from a place where he has encountered problems? The answer is no because a hero is a person who is ready to face any difficulties in order to solve them.
However, Christopher abandoned the place where he had problems, so his deeds such as leaving his family, money, and friends pointed out that he was a fool. Young children should be ready to sacrifice their lives in order to protect and develop their countries because if they don’t do it, who will? Nevertheless, Chris deserted his society instead of serving and protecting it. Once, he said, “How important it is in not life necessarily to be strong but feel strong.” His decision was the opposite of his quote because if he was strong or felt strong, he should have faced his problems in the society instead of his foolish decision, which was quitting the society.
In addition, he also gave a bad message to all teenagers. His actions showed that leaving the society is a way to solve problems though it is the opposite of reality. For example, you have an internal problem in your home and want to solve it. Do you think that leaving your home may help you solve it? No, it isn’t possible; thus he was a fool. This isn’t the mere reason that persuaded me he was foolish; ignoring his loyal family and a great degree is another factor. Even though he had a respectful and loving family and graduated from one of the best universities in the USA, he was being foolish and left them. His family gave him what he wanted and required. Therefore, he was supposed to take care of his parents, but he didn’t even think about it, and he also forfeited his family to fulfill his selfish aim.
When parents become old, they can’t live independently because they may face many difficulties which they don’t have the ability to solve. Who is responsible to help elderly parents unless their children? Mr. Jamel, who is my relative, is very happy because he has a son. He usually says that his son is the mainstay of his life. He knows when he gets old, his son will be the first person to support him. As a result, Christopher should have remained at home to take care of his parents when they aren’t able to run their lives. Moreover, almost everyone tends to get a good degree in order to get a good job.
According to Chris’s story, I realized that a professional degree can’t help you get a job if you are a fool because Chris had a good degree, but he didn’t have any job due to his foolishness. He also said,” The core of man’s spirit comes from experience.” However, he didn’t take any responsibilities in the society to enhance his experience. He should have gotten a great job and improved his skills. He also should have found what the truth is through working and experiencing. However, He was a fool due to not caring about these points. There are some people who say he was a hero because he tried to be independent and to find the truth. He also burnt his money because money is nothing for heroes.
However, their ideas are totally irrational. For their first reason, he could have been independent in his country. For example, he could have married the beautiful girl whom he met during his journey and lived independently. He also might have found the truth while living and working in his country. Although he went to find his true self, he killed himself. Wasn’t he a fool while going to find something but losing everything? Also, burning money makes no one a hero but a fool. If a man has a mind, how can he burn money unless it is a sign of being foolish? Why didn’t he save it or give it to charity? Well, good question. I know why because he was utterly foolish.
In conclusion, human beings are creatures who should be different from other creatures such as animals. For instance, we have some responsibilities and attributes which animals don’t have. For example, we must worship our God and invoke Him to give us paradise. We should live in societies where other populations live, be honest and helpful, save our countries, and take care of elderly people and support them. We are supposed to encounter severe hardships because we are strong and can defeat every difficult circumstance. We should also respect our parents and obey them, get a good degree and get tasks, and respect life and save it. We shouldn’t put ourselves in danger because we desire to have safe lives. Finally, we should get married and produce new generations who will repeat what we have done. These are some difference between us and animals. Let me ask you a vital question, did Christopher do what human beings are supposed to do? No, he didn’t, and his actions were totally the opposite of people’s deeds. He acted merely like an animal; therefore, he was a fool.
An Analysis and Comparison of the Characters of Chris McCandless and Tim O’Brien in Into the Wild and The Things They Carried
Into the wild is about a young man name Chris McCandless otherwise known as Alex, who is a transcendental. In the beginning of the book, Alex grew up in a very puritanical family but Alex becomes rebellious and transcendentalism as he runs away from his family and his life as Christopher McCandless. Alex growing up in the 1980s created a different outlook on life because at this time, there weren’t too many people who were rebellious. No one (overall) was really transcendental. Alex was the first modern day Transcendental hero. Around this time people were still living by puritan beliefs so it was very unlikely and unheard of for a person to go and do all of the things Alex had done. When Alex was floating down the river he was romantic. He knew he wasn’t suppose to do it, he could’ve turned around and went home, but when he did this, he enjoyed it and didn’t care too much of the consequences. Chris wasn’t completely out of it, he went to college, maintain almost perfect grades, never partied and made the mistakes teenagers usually make, and he was very focused on the things he wanted to obtain in life. He lived by, “If you want something in this life, reach out and grab it.” Alex made many mistakes as everyone does in life, but unlike many people who give up on the things they want or are afraid to go after what they want because they’re afraid of what society will say, Alex wasn’t. He went after everything he wanted and would not let anyone tell him otherwise.
In chapter 11, his family mentions, “always trying to pull him away from the edge.” In chapters 4 and 5 Alex gets arrested, visits Arizona, goes to Mexico, spends a night in jail, and quits his job at McDonalds because they made him wear socks, and not once did Alex show any regret in running away. Chapters 7 and 8 show how Alex is a romantic as he builds many close relationships with the people he comes in contact with. Although it is easy for him to let go and move on from these people’s lives, he is attached because he tells them he will come back when he comes back from Alaska. I believe Alex meets realism when he comes to reality that everything can’t go as he plans and he begins dying. When Westberg tells Alex that he can buy him a plane ticket to Fairbanks to work a little longer and make it Alaska by the end of April, Alex tells him, “No, I want to hitch north. Flying would be cheating. It would wreck the whole trip.” Alex claiming that this is cheating and him wanting to do things on his own, proves Alex is transcendental. At the end is where Alex puritanical and realism side comes out when he signs his name one last time and as Chris McCandless. At this moment, he wants life. He wants his life back.
The Thing They Carried is about Tim O’Brien, a young man who is very puritanical and represents realism and rational beliefs. Tim O’Brien grew up in a puritanical family, graduating from high school and attending college. Tim receives a letter that he must take place fighting in a war. Tim O’Brien is not happy at all when he hears of this. He doesn’t want to fight in war because he feel he is too good for war. Tim O’Brien claimed to be too good for war because he is smart and because he hated camping out. Due to Tim’s puritanical beliefs and fear of having to be looked down upon, he fights in war. Tim is very fortunate to have survived the war, but in his mind he is dead. He suffers deeply because of the things he had to see and the things he had to do, which only makes him cry. Tim was rational because of the reasons he had for not deserving to be forced into fighting in war. To some, Tim’s reasons may seem ridiculous and make him sound foolish or even fearful, but Tim’s reasons were pretty reasonable and understanding. He felt certain blood was being shed for uncertain reasons. He saw no unity of purpose, no consensus on matters of philosophy or history or law. He felt war just wasn’t necessary and could really damage lives because once people are dead, you can’t make them undead. Tim is stating everything that every man who went to war can’t express themselves. No matter how strong men act when they return home from war, deep down inside they are damaged and weak. O’Brien was running away from his life that is too complicated to cope with. In many ways, these reasons were very good reasons to do so.
Alex and Tim were very alike in many ways but also very different. Alex was running away from the life he didn’t want while Tim was holding tight to the life he had to leave. Alex and Tim are both puritanical as they worked hard in high school and college, shaping them into intelligent young men. Alex had the life he didn’t want but Tim wanted, which was freedom, to finish college, and live a great life having great fortune. Alex wanted the truth, while Tim had experienced the truth which is reality at war. Alex and Tim both kept their feelings inside and never spoke up about how they felt about their situations to their families. They just decided to deal with the lives they were given and to cope with it which way they felt was best.
Tim had a choice to not fight in war and flee to a different country (which would have resulted in consequences eventually), but the puritanical beliefs in him made him do what he KNEW was “right” so he went to war. Alex was the exact opposite, he didn’t follow his puritanical beliefs, he went rebelled against everything and everyone and did what he FELT was right. Tim survived his battle and physically survived but mentally didn’t which is why he is emotionally damaged. Alex didn’t survive his battle and remains emotionally damaged because he never got to discuss it all with his parents and by then it is too late. Alex was who Tim wish he could have been. He wished he could have been as rebellious as Alex to say no to war and express his beliefs As you can see, the two are very alike but still remain somewhat different. Alex is the transcendental young man that Tim couldn’t find the strength to be. Tim was the puritanical, rational young man Alex refused to be. Both young men came to reality at the end of their wars and became realistic in which they thought.
The Life of Chris Mccandless in into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Into The Wild Review
Jon Krakauer’s bestseller Into the Wild is at first glance a biography and background story to an event that made national headlines; but on a closer look it actually turns out to be an attempt at documenting the human condition and trying to simplify life into a straight forward story, instead of the complex mess it really is, along with showing readers how much of a lasting effect Chris McCandless left on people and the importance of personal connections. Krakauer manages to describe his subject, Chris McCandless’ life through using interviews with people who had known him in life to tell the reader how Chris lived and the impressions he left on people, instead of Krauker simply describing Chris himself.
This is a recurring motif throughout the entire story, where Chris left a sizable impact on just about anyone he met on his journey, so much so that even someone Chris described as a “lunatic” still remembered Chris clearly years later and was able to describe McCandless’ behavior (Page 41). Along the same idea, Krakauer is able to profoundly describe Chris without using any words of his own, instead using the words of an old woman to paint a picture for the reader of who Chris was and she said “I only spent a few hours in [Chris’] company, it amazes me how much I’m bothered by his death” (Page 67). Coming from an aged woman, this statement carries particular weight because it makes Chris seem to be a once in a lifetime person, who could make an impression on just about anyone he ever had the chance of speaking with.
However, although Krakauer seems to hit his stride in the book when using interviews to describe McCandless, this author still makes a dignified attempt at simplifying the complicated thing called life, even if he did trip up occasionally. Kraukauer tries to make Chris’ story into a narrative by leaving out what he deemed boring and only filling the reader in on what he thought was necessary for the “central plot” of Chris’ life to advance. For example, Krakauer completely skips an enormous chunk of Chris’ trip into Alaska, and the reader only becomes aware of this time skip after someone being interviewed about Chris says that they drove him for a thousand miles, although Krakauer only spends a few paragraphs on this particular person and their interactions with Chris (Page 160).
Another part in the story where I felt that Krakauer slipped and simply was not able to make his narrative of Chris work smoothly, was Chris’ adventure down south into Mexico. On a 5-month canoe excursion into Mexico, Krauker seems to be unable to give any reasoning as to why this journey important for Chris and why the reader even needs to know this event ever happened, like he did for most other events in Chris’ life that Krakauer describes. Kraukuer seems to almost forget this event even happened later in the story, never referencing it again. Although this seems like it would’ve been a very eventful journey in Chris’ life, Jon only spends about three pages in total on this trip and what it meant for Chris, which I felt was strange seeing as for almost every other aspect of Chris’ life, Krauker writes as if he were telling a story and did not want the audience to miss any important details, but he for some reason chose to virtually never again mention Chris’ trip down south, and the significance it had for Chris.
However, even through some of his missteps, Jon Krakauer is still able to paint a beautiful picture and make sense of the life of someone who tried to make their own life unfollowable. He was able to redeem the legacy of Chris McCandless and show him off to the world as a extraordinary individual.
Discussion on Why Chris Mccandless Should Be Admired
Christopher McCandless should be recognized for living as he wanted and living by his ideas. Chris was a middle-class kid with supportive parents and a college education. He lived as he wanted and on the ways, he helped and inflicted pain into people. His purity and mysterious beliefs made him friends on his journey across America, but his stubbornness caused others pain, he inflicted pain into his parents who worked to get him opportunities but he treated them as if they were dirt. He should be admired in the sense that he was brave and smart, in society but stupid in his preparedness for nature. He is now dead, we wouldn’t be talking about him if he were alive be that’s the case, what causes a guy with such intelligence, such stupidity in a matter of months, yes he was stupid but he should be admired for his bravery, purity, and independence.
Chris McCandless’s purity and mysterious beliefs mesmerized the lives of people he came in contact with alone his journey. For example, when the Westerberg’s first meet Chris Mary Westerberg was not interested in Chris’s journey or ideals, to her Chris was just an idiot worker on her farm. But after Mary had a chance to talk to Chris her perspective of him completely changed, after a conversation with Chris filled with honesty and purity Mary’s opinion on Chris change. “There was something fascinating about him, explains Mrs. Westerberg […] Unlike most of us, he was the sort of person who insisted on living out his beliefs”. Mary Westerberg was not sure about Chris based on his social status and beliefs “she wasn’t really enthusiastic about meeting Chris” but soon she realized none of that matters after having a five-hour nonstop conversation with Chris. Chris was an admired by others because of his purity although others believed going into the Alaskan forest was a bad idea he followed through with his plan, although it turned out bad. His purity is what attracted people to him like the Westerbergs or the Burres, his purity and honesty is what helped him make friendships along his journey. Yes, Chris may have died, but the friendships and memories he engraved in people in such a short amount of time are what makes him outgoing and admirable.
Although Chris McCandless’ purity made him friendships, his independence is what made him brave. Throughout Chris’s life, he strived on independence, seen as early as high school. In the summer of 1990, he packed up his Datsun and traveled to America. Chris was never afraid to take risks, he was a risk taker. Chris paddled down the Colorado River into the Gulf of Mexico in a canoe. He was brave enough to spend a month and a few days in the Ocean by himself. “He had not seen or talked to another soul in 36 days. For that entire period, he subsisted on five pounds of rice and what marine life he could pull for the sea, an experience that would later convince him he could survive on similarly meager rations in the Alaskan bush.” This shows how independent and brave Chris was a person, he spent 36 days alone in the middle of the ocean with only 5 pounds of rice and fish he caught. Despite the great danger, Chris followed his heart and did as he pleased, knowing his lack of experience he did it because he wanted to be independent. Chris was self-dependent in the sense that he did everything by himself. “His gear seemed exceedingly minimal for the harsh conditions of the interior… He had no ax, no bug dope, no snowshoes, no compass”. This shows that if Chris did not buy it or make it he would not take it with him, that why he carried so light because he only wants supplies that he bought or made, showing how independent and brave he was. He survived a month in the ocean by himself and never needed anyone else’s help.
Christopher McCandless has impacted a lot of people along his journey in good and bad ways, but who he impacts most is his weeping family. Chris’s was very stubborn and the inability to connect with the parents causes him to leave home. Talking the trip into the wild, he left his mother, father, and sister behind, he had a very supportive family who supported him in everything he did, but Chris didn’t like his parents which he left wondering, where he was after he cut all communication. “How is it… that a kid with so much compassion could cause his parents so much pain”. Although Chris was open towards strangers he showed a bitter attitude toward his parents causing them endless pain. This quote shows that Chris didn’t care whatsoever about his parents and that the problem was not his parents it was him, his parents now have to live with the agony of knowing their son/brother. After Chris’s death his family still hasn’t had closure, his sister Carine, “Carine still grieves deeply for her brother. “I can’t seem to get through the day without crying, she says with a look of puzzlement”, and it doesn’t get any easier for his mother “as she studies the picture, she breaks down from time to time, weeping as only a mother who has outlived a child can weep”. The fact that his family hasn’t gotten over his death years later is heartbreaking, how could such a smart kid, make such a dumb decision, his family will always live with the grief they will never be the same after his death. This shows that Chris is stubborn because he doesn’t think about his family at the time of him leaving and now they will be heartbroken forever. Yes Chris has done good for a lot of people but also bad for others, he is stupid in the sense that he didn’t tell anyone where he was going or that he didn’t pack enough supplies not knowing how long he would be gone, he fails to acknowledge the dangers of isolating himself from society ultimately leading to his death.
Although Chris McCandless will not be seen by most as a hero, some will admire his purity as a human. He had his ideas and he acted upon his beliefs. In any case, Chris accomplished something that numerous individuals would never have the ability to do which is life freely. He was humble within the picture of a greater world in which he attempted to discover a spot that sat ideal inside himself. He may have died, but he died living his dream. McCandless penned a brief adios: “I HAVE HAD A HAPPY LIFE AND THANK THE LORD. GOODBYE AND MAY GOD BLESS ALL!”
The Impact Of Isolation And A Lack Of Intimacy On Chris McCandless In Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild
Isolation is the experience of being separated from others. It results from being physically separated from others, such as when a person lives in a remote area. Intimacy is important to one’s life as well, it is required to be able to bond and form important relationships. While fulfilling relationships lead to success, failure isolates a person and can result in feelings of loneliness. Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild portrays how a lack of intimacy and an abundance of isolation will result to depression and lack of fulfilment, which will ultimately result to the harshest punishment of death.
Isolation is demonstrated by describing how Chris’s relationship with his is dad obsolete, which will eventually lead to his journey to find fulfillment and peace in life. For example, Chris states “Alaska has long been a magnet for dreamers and misfits, people who think the unsullied enormity of the Last Frontier will patch all the holes in their lives. The bush is an unforgiving place, however, that cares nothing for hope or longing.” Chris is expressing that sometimes people think that connecting with nature will help bring out a new person in them; they think it will renew their lives and help them to better themselves. Alaska has had this effect on people for a long time and there are always people in every generation who think that Alaska will repair their life. In addition, Chris writes “Hey Guys! This is the last communication you shall receive from me. I now walk out to live amongst the wild. Take care, it was great knowing you. ALEXANDER”. As Chris travels he sends letters and postcards to people he met during his journey but he refers to these as his last letter which already demonstrates that he has no faith to survive. Chris has totally transformed himself into a solitary person ready to leave the world behind forever. Furthermore, Jon Krakauer believes “As a youth, I am told, I was willful, self-absorbed, intermittently reckless, moody. I disappointed my father in the usual ways. Like McCandless, figures of male authority aroused in me a confusing medley of corked fury and hunger to please. If something captured my undisciplined imagination, I pursued it with a zeal bordering on obsession, and from the age of seventeen until my late twenties that something was mountain climbing.” Jon Krakauer connects his own anger and desire for acceptance in Chris’s fate. The passage asserts a connection between Krakauer and McCandless upon which all of Into the Wild’s troubles and downfalls all relates back to finding happiness and loving relationships.
Intimacy is lost in Chris’s vision by illustrating the separation from Walt, Billie and the rest of humanity to be devastating eventually turning Chris an animal living on his own. For example, Krakauer explains Chris’s journey as “The trip was to be an odyssey in the fullest sense of the word, an epic journey that would change everything. McCandless had spent the previous four years, as he saw it, preparing to fulfill an absurd and onerous duty: to graduate from college. At long last he was unencumbered, emancipated from the stifling world of his parents and peers, a world of abstraction and security and material excess, a world in which he felt grievously cut off from the raw throb of existence”. With this, Krakauer attempts to step into McCandless’ shoes, explaining how ridiculous and tiresome college was. The reader could tell that Chris was eagerly anticipating this odyssey, or metamorphic adventure. Waiting for a drastic change in his life, McCandless yearned to be unencumbered, or free from the burden of reason, greed, and society. In addition, Chris tries to stay as isolated as possible demonstrated in “McCandless…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 Westerbergn 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”. This passage illuminates McCandless’s deep problems with intimacy, which are very central in his ultimately fatal two-year quest for meaning and peace. During these two years, McCandless doesn’t contact his sister, with whom he was very close, and while he meets many people and becomes close to a few, he always makes sure to maintain a certain distance. Furthermore, Krakauer expands on his beliefs of Chris’s life by stating “Seven weeks after the body of his son turned up in Alaska wrapped in a blue sleeping bag that Billie had sewn for Chris from a kit, Walt studies a sailboat scudding beneath the window of his waterfront townhouse. ‘How is it,’ he wonders aloud as he gazes blankly across Chesapeake Bay, ‘that a kid with so much compassion could cause his parents so much pain”. This passage is emblematic of the problem at the core of McCandless’s story. From what Krakauer learns about him, he seems to have been a deeply compassionate person, and a significant part of his two-year quest was fueled by his sense of injustice at how selfishly and greedily most Americans lived.
In his novel Into the Wild Krakauer fully examines a lack of intimacy and an abundance of isolation results to lack of fulfilment, which will ultimately result in discontent in life. while Chris’s relationship with his dad has failed, and Intimacy is lost in Chris’s vision by separation from Walt, Billie and the rest of humanity. Which is what happens in the real world when a human is placed in quarantine and loses all humanity and human relations in life.
Chris McCandless And The Meaning Of Living Deliberately
Living deliberately means to live to your standards, to act studiously being aware of everything your actions may cause, and live strategically. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I will prepare and someday my chance will come.” You must always be prepared for anything that could happen. “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt. You should always learn from others’ mistakes and experiences to better yourself. My goal in life is to learn from other’s mistakes and to always be prepared.
In the book, Chris McCandles went into the wilderness with the bare minimum of supplies. “Alex’s backpack looked as though it weighed only twenty-five or thirty pounds, which struck Gallien — an accomplished hunter and woodsman — as an improbably light load for a stay of several months in the back-country”. An accomplished hunter said it himself that he had very little supplies to what one would usually carry for the time he would be staying in Alaska wilderness. He was not prepared for his trip which later caused him to lose his life and with the supplies he had, they were inadequate for the trip. Chris was not living deliberately as he wasn’t being strategic, he brought less than the minimum it would take for him to survive in the wilderness. “Alex’s cheap leather hiking boots were neither waterproof nor well insulated. His rifle was only .22 caliber, a bore too small to rely on if he expected to kill large animals like moose and caribou, which he would have to eat if he hoped to remain very long in the country”. He had no way to survive correctly and his attire was not suited for the harsh weather conditions of Alaska. His feet would have frozen in his boots as they were not supposed to be used in Alaska. The gun he brought would have been useless against the bigger animals in the country. He also did not bring much of the essential things needed to live, food. “Alex admitted that the only food in his pack was a ten-pound bag of rice”. He only brought rice to him as rations for his trip while the gear he brought was not enough to get him decent food to survive for the entire trip which led to him dying of starvation. The food was an inadequate amount for what he was planning to do. A 10-pound bag of rice would not last that long
While he did get some advice, he did not get it from the right people as he got advice from hunters in a different state for his trip to Alaska. “Alaskan hunters know that the easiest way to preserve meat in the bush is to slice it into thin strips and then air-dry it on a makeshift rack. But McCandless, in his naivete, relied on the advice of hunters he’d consulted in South Dakota”. South Dakota is a completely different environment then Alaska as it does not have the snowy forests that Alaska has. He should have known this but he disregarded the fact which led to him losing the moose he killed. He also ignored some of the advice he got and while he was an avid reader of books, he did not read the books that would have let him survive in Alaska. “McCandless is, finally, just a pale 20th-century burlesque of London’s protagonist, who freezes because he ignores advice and commits bigtime hubris)… His ignorance, which could have been cured by a USGS quadrant and a Boy Scout manual, is what killed him”. He could have survived if he had read some survival guides that would have been pretty easy to have gotten or if he had asked advice to any hunters who have hunted in Alaska before as he would have gotten advice from those who are familiar with what to do and the terrain that he would have found himself in. If he had researched this, he would have been able to survive out in the wilderness as he would have been able to gain some of the much-needed skills to live in Alaska. While he did have an edible plants guide, it was not very useful in Alaska even though it allowed him to live for more time
When Chris was dying of starvation, he only put out a note taped on the front of the bus he was staying at to show that he was dying. He could have done many other things, but he only put a note which could have taken forever to find or even have flown off if there had been a storm in the area. “The door was ajar, and taped to it was a disquieting note. Handwritten in neat block letters…”. He could have made a fire to have sent out signals that he was there or many other things. He decided to stay at the bus to slowly die rather than trying to do more to stop it. He wasn’t prepared for what he was going to be facing in the wilderness and he died because of it. The note proved that he was not prepared for his adventure and that he should have taken more care of what was going to happen on the trip.
He did not learn from many others who have made the same mistakes like Charles McCunn who brought more than enough items to stay on his trip but he forgot to arrange for transportation back to his city so he died out there because he did not read his license correctly which would have let him correctly signal the plane passing him overhead that he would need help. Like McCandles, McCunn also had an oversight which would eventually lead to his death just like McCandles lead to his. “McCunn looked on the back of his hunting license and understood why. Printed on the little square of paper were drawings of emergency hand signals for communicating with aircraft from the ground”. If he read that before he would have known the proper way to signal the plane that he needed help so he would have been able to leave with his life intact.
Chris was also very set in his ways by not allowing anyone to give him gifts that could have helped him on his trip. “Burres also got McCandless to accept some long underwear and other warm clothing she thought he’d need in Alaska. “He eventually took it to shut me up,” she laughs, “but the day after he left, I found most of it in the van”. He did not really let people give him charity and when they did, he would always argue heavily against them giving it to him. Some people had to lie to him to let him let them give them rides or gifts. Whenever he was offered money, he got really offended to the people offering it to him. If he accepted the gifts that he declined, he would have been better prepared for what was going to happen on his Alaska trip. One of the people he met offered to get him better gear for his trip but he declined and went into the wilderness with a gun that was not a high enough caliber to kill some of the animals he would have to kill to survive.
He gave his money away to charity which was good for those the charity benefited he didn’t have any money himself, so he lost some money he could have used to better stock himself up. He burnt the cash that was in his wallet, left his car inside a river, and gave away most of his possessions so he could live what he says is living deliberately. “Shortly thereafter, he donated the balance of his bank account to OXFAM, loaded up his car, and vanished from their lives”. He left his cash to a charity which while noble was stupid as it left nothing for him to use in case of emergencies. He had no way to get better gear for his trip and no way to get things he would need in emergencies. He had supplies that were not suited to his location and refused help from others wishing to get him better supplies which caused his downfall. He did not think of everything that he would need causing him to not have any money to get what he requires
When Chris left his family didn’t know a thing that was happening as he made sure they wouldn’t know that he had left on his journey to Alaska. “Chris had instructed the post office to hold them until August 1, apparently so we wouldn’t know anything was up”. He cut himself off from his family without telling them of his plans making them worry for him when he was drifting around the country. When they realized he was gone it had been five weeks already so they could not find him. He had done this before going on trips by himself but this one was the last one that he had.
Living deliberately is to live to your ideals but to go about it doing it smartly. While McCandles lived to his on ideals, he did not go about it intelligently which caused his numerous lack of successes eventually leading to his death. To me living deliberately is to live by looking at the past to not repeat the mistakes of others and to always be prepared for everything that could happen. McCandles was not prepared for what he was going to face as he went out with barely any supplies and the supplies that he did bring were inadequate for the Alaskan wilderness. He got advice from the wrong people not using his common sense to differentiate between hunting in South Dakota and hunting in Alaska. Instead of doing anything else he put a note at the door of the bus he was residing in that he was dying hoping for someone to come even though he could have done numerous amounts of things to do. Many people have made the same mistakes as him before and after his time. He could have investigated this to find out what not to do. His story was also publicized so quite a few people should have known the mistakes he made but did the same thing. He was very stubborn in not letting anyone give him charity throughout his trip and if they did, he would usually return it to them. The money he did have at the start of the trip he gave away and burned instead of using it to get better supplies so he would have been more prepared. He had left without telling his family anything making him seem immature as he had stopped talking to them earlier for something his father had done in his youth. Chris McCandles did not live deliberately but instead lived foolishly by rejecting those who wanted to help him or doing actual research on the wilderness himself. To live deliberately you have to have your ideas of what you should do but you must do it astutely to make sure that you have no problems with what is happening.
Henry David Thoreau’s Impact on Christopher Mccandless
The work of Henry David Thoreau’s “Where I Lived and What I Lived For” had a profound influence on Christopher McCandless’s life. After venturing for over two years to find himself and escape his life as he knows it, McCandless was found dead in a bus Alaska. In the bus, there was a heavily marked up copy of Thoreau’s book. There is clear correlation between Thoreau’s work and how McCandless lived his life.
Further, in “Where I Lived and What I Lived For,” Walden quite proudly announces that he resides far from the post office. He says “for my part, I could easily do without the post office. I think that there are very few important communications made through it.” While all others were communicating through the post office, Thoreau did not think this was necessary. He did not have many people to contact, and those he was close with, he visited in person. A pillar of society is communication. Thoreau could not understand that maintaining a relationship involves communication. By not communicating, he showed how he rejected society. The idea of Thoreau rejected society was appealing to McCandless. Consequently, McCandless cut ties with everyone he knew from before his journey and most people from during his journey. McCandless contacts very few of the people he met along his journey at different times in his adventure. Furthermore, another pillar of society is possessions. People are judged in a society on their possessions. “What nobody knew was that he would shortly donate all the money in his college fund to OXFAM America, a charity dedicated to fighting hunger,” said author Jon Krakauer. McCandless rejected this aspect of society by giving away all of his possessions before his journey. He believed materialistic things such as money drive people mad.
Moreover, one of Thoreau’s lasting impressions on McCandless was that living without commitment was a positive thing in life. He said “as long as possible, live free and uncommitted.” Thoreau believed that living a life without responsibilities tying one down made for a successful life. One of the places Thoreau almost settled was the Hollowell farm. After the owner’s wife unexpectedly decided to keep the house, Thoreau gave up his claim on the property. This farm would have required constant upkeep and attention. Forced to make his life simpler, this ended up being just what Thoreau needed. This was the point where Thoreau realized that living on the farm would have taken away his freedom and the farm would have consumed his life. Instead of being tied down to a farm, Thoreau was now free to live a life of leisure. At his new dwelling, he had no responsibilities and was not constrained to anything. Likewise, when McCandless changed his name and set out for adventure, he showed that he was not committed to his life. He wanted to escape a materialistic life and become free, reflecting Thoreau’s life. He wanted to find himself, and the only way to do so was to live this free and uncommitted lifestyle. By giving away his money, he was no longer tied to it, he could start over and live any way he wanted. McCandless said “we just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and get engaged in unconventional living.” McCandless urged everyone to turn their backs on the traditional lifestyle to find themselves. Parallel to Thoreau, McCandless rejected constraints and a sense of responsibility. McCandless’s actions and mindset were those that showed resemblance to Thoreau’s.
In addition, Thoreau wanted his audience to make it through their everyday lives and struggles “till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, this is, and no mistake; and then begin, having a point d’appui, below freshest and front and fire, a place where you might have found a wall or a state, or set a lamp-post safely, or perhaps a gauge, not a Nilometer but a Realometer” stated Thoreau. The term Realometer is a spin-off of the term Nilometer, which measured the depth of the Nile River in Egypt. To further explain, the point of the Nilometer was to hit rock bottom to get a grasp on the reality of life. Before McCandless’s death, he achieves this this. McCandless is able to reach his rock bottom as he was dying alone in the bus. As a result, he could finally understand the reality of life and figure out what he had spent his whole journey in search of. In the bus where he died, McCandless wrote in his journal that “happiness is only real when shared.” This shows how when McCandless hit the wall Thoreau was talking about, he was able to finally realize the reality of life. He had a grasp on the reality of things from this new point of view.
Although I believe there were better choices McCandless could have made along his journey, such as becoming more educated about his surroundings, I do understand why he ultimately embarked on his journey. He did not agree with the constraints society put on him, and he wanted to break free from that. I can sympathize with him in that sense, although I wish he did not have to completely hit rock bottom in order to gain a grasp on reality. If he could have realized what made him happy at a different point in his journey he could possibly still be alive today. His life choices still resonate years later because viewpoints on his life decisions are so divided. People are either inspired at the thought of McCandless leaving a conventional life for an unconventional one or they do not agree with his decision of exploring un-prepared and inspiring others to do the same. Many are inspired by him because they know that they are not brave enough to venture into his lifestyle. McCandless was inspired by Thoreau in the same way that he inspires others. There is clear correlation between Henry David Thoreau’s work and how Christopher McCandless lived his life.
The Ideas of Thoreau and Emerson Refuted Or Accepted in Biography of Mccandless
A transcendentalist ideal presented by Emerson in his essay Nature is his extreme respect and love of nature. Emerson discusses in his essay that “to go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society” which stresses that one must pursue nature in order to experience solitude and fulfillment. Emerson further reports that in nature, he feels immersed, one with God and that all objects in nature are spiritually connected. Similarly, McCandless’s appreciation of nature is central to his beliefs and adventure into the Alaskan wilderness. For instance, an employee at a McDonalds he briefly worked at described how he would often express his love of “trees, nature and other strange topics”.
An additional character that evolved into this ideal was Ronald Franz, an elderly man that became very attached to McCandless; he even began to recognize him as his grandson. Franz learned to appreciate nature and live a nomadic lifestyle through McCandless suggestion: “Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon”. Corresponding to another transcendentalist ideal of keeping oneself away from wealth, McCandless also suggests that he adapt an “economy style” life and to spend as “little as possible. I find is strange that McCandless encouraged Franz and others to follow his ideals as it could of created a mini-sort of nomadic society, society is what McCandless firmly dislikes.
Emerson also stressed in his essay Self-Reliance that living your life in status quo, as most people do, will never lead to innovation or change, comparing it to “studying a shadow on the wall”. He alluded to some of the great pioneers of human advancements such as Newton and Pythagoras who thought outside the box and were misunderstood at the time. Comparatively, McCandless spent his school days feeding the homeless and not going to parties which led him to dream about trekking across the american wilderness. McCandless also began to not worry about the weather, food, going to jail or money.
Emerson also urged his readers in Self-Reliance to trust themselves and not to conform in society. He claimed that they would be taken advantage of and made docile. McCandless demonstrated his lack of conformity when he attempted to cross the United States border without an ID as he considered it his moral duty to “flout the laws of the state”. In addition, McCandless also eliminated contact with his parents: “Their fraudulent marriage and our father’s denial of his other son was, for Chris, a murder of every day’s truth”.
McCandless’s strong and independent work ethic also correlated with Emerson’s views on what a self-reliant man should be. Krakauer described McCandless as the “hardest worker” and that it “didn’t matter what it was, he’d do it: hard physical labour, mucking rotten grain and dead rats”. Emerson identically believed that a true man should do his own work and put in his blood, sweat and tears: “a man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work”. Wayne Westerberg was also described with this transcendentalist ideal and was a hardworking grain elevator operator.
In his essay Walden, Thoreau claimed that he “went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” In saying this, Thoreau is stressing that he wants a live of simplicity, independence and nature. This was indeed identical to McCandless in which Krakauer remarked that “McCandless went into the wilderness…to explore the inner country of his own soul”. Krakauer further cites that he sought the wilderness as a gateway to gaining knowledge, inner understanding and a dhance for spiritual reflection.
McCandless also adhered to the transcendentalist belief of individual supremacy by purposefully keeping himself away from wealth. In venturing into the Alaskan wildlife extemporaneously, McCandless lived of what is considered expertly as insufficient means. Krakauer indeed states that his supplies “seemed exceedingly minimal for the harsh conditions” and that he brought “no ax, no bug dope, no snowshoes, no compass”. McCandless also brought with him only 10 pounds of rice. Although this appears to be an act of foolishness, McCandless solely aimed to live a solitary life so he could delve into himself and nature. This is a view shared by Thoreau in which he stresses that materialistic items and wealth corrupt individuals. He also stresses that “I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand”.
Jon Krakauer also described Chris’s living conditions and residence in university as: “a monkish room furnished with little more than a thin mattress on the floor, milk crates, and a table.” McCandless indeed kept his room as “orderly and spotless as a military barracks.” He also stresses that he did not have a phone, so his parents could not contact him. This correlates with Thoreau’s firm view that one must live a simple life in order to experience fulfilment: “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity”. McCandless also donated the rest of his education fund amounting to 24 thousand to charity as money, as well as material possessions, did not mean anything to him. Further evidence to support this is that McCandless burnt money to symbolise that it held no power over his life and that he was in control.
When Chris McCandless began his journey into the Alaskan wilderness, he also changed his identity to Alex Supertramp in order to start a new lifestyle. This is because McCandless shared a hatred of society with Thoreau and wanted to escape its negative influence. Explaining why he left his job at McDonalds, McCandless attributed it to not wanting to work with “plastic people” who he felt were corrupt and docile people. Similarly, Thoreau directed a hostile attack at people that claim “moderns…are intellectual dwarves” and urged his readers to take control and make their own choices.
Chris McCandless also burned all the money he brought with him on his adventure in order to symbolize that it held no power over his life and that he was in control. In order to improve himself as a person and delve into his own soul, he discarded all material objects that served as a distraction to his pursuit of nature. Additional evidence to support their similarity is that McCandless even decided to abandon his car in order to completely focus his energy on his adventure. Krakauer described that “he saw the flash flood as an opportunity to shed unnecessary baggage”. Thoreau was also strongly opposed to materialism and abandoned all his belongings in order to live a live of solitude in Walden.
Walt McCandless refutes the ideal presented by Thoreau on materialism in his work What I Lived For and Conclusion. Thoreau’s objection to materialism is central to these pieces and he often stresses that one cannot assess their live by the material objects they have acquired and that they will ultimately not grant one fulfillment. Thus, he encourages people to discard of such items and to pursue nature as a route to improve themselves as a person. Walt McCandless is a successful businessman with plenty of money, refuting this ideal. Walt could also not understand the motivation behind his son’s adventure.
A piece of writing by Thoreau that appears to contradict McCandless and his adventure is his statement in Conclusion that one mustn’t “build castles in the air”. Even though he encouraged his readers to pursue their dreams and take control of their own lives, like McCandless, this phrase appears to put emphasize on stability; Thoreau may have suggested to us that we must have foundations and security before we pursue our dreams. McCandless, on the other hand, did not have security as he brought only 10 pounds of rice with him for his entire adventure. Krakauer described his supplies as “exceedingly minimal for the harsh conditions”. Thoreau was indeed strongly opposed to materialism but certainly not to the extent of McCandless.
Another example of McCandless refuting a view presented by Thoreau is his lack of political interest. Thoreau wrote heavily on his political beliefs and evidently had an interest in the field, directing a political attack at conservatives who claim that “moderns…are intellectual dwarves.” Thoreau indeed states in Conclusion that he had liberal views and wanted people to mind their own business and to “endeavor to be what he was made.” Thoreau would also protest against certain political policies that were in place and even refused to pay taxes. Though McCandless is also against conformists, Krakauer did not reference an incidence in which he vocally spoke about politics. McCandless instead chose to forget about society completely and to commence with his adventure.
Breakdown of Self Reliance Quotes in into the Wild
“Into the Wild” by John Krakuear is about a young man named Chris McCandless who finished high school in Virginia with outstanding grades, later Chris attend Emory University for about 4 years. In Chris’s senior year, he moved into a small apartment accumulated basic necessities only like water and electricity. The last his parents ever heard from him or seen from him was his college graduation. Shortly after, Chris donated his twenty-five-thousand dollars to an organization that obliterates poverty and starvation around the world (OXFAM). Chris then ditched everything and headed west in his 1985 Datsun. He encountered many people who were very generous and caring and willing to help him. Chris’s parents came with a surprise visit only to come and find a neat pile of letter he left for his parents to read. John Krauker created this book to explain what happened to Chris on his journey and why Chris decided to do such a stupendous thing. This book explains how a young man is against nature and himself, which allows him to truly feel what he is capable of and that he doesn’t need to rely on others, or on society, to survive, and begin true to yourself is the key to happiness in life.
McCandless praises to be self-reliant and does everything in his power to run from the dependence of others meaning not taking help from anyone but himself at any cost. ‘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.’ Into the Wild, 55. So in this quote Chris is thrilled that he did not form a relationship with the people he has come across and who have helped him. In the quote, Chris just left Ron Franz who already wanted to be more than friends with him or someone he just cross paths with. Ron wanted to adopt Chris and make him his grandson. But Chris got slightly mad at that and ignores the harm he has done to the people when he risked his safety and his life.
Another example that Chris doesn’t need anyone to survive is, “My days were more exciting when I was penniless and had to forage around for my next meal.” Into the Wild Chap3. Now in this quote it shows how independent Chris is. He wrote a letter to the Westerbergs, justifying he appreciate the money offer, but life’s more adventures when you don’t know when, where, or how your going to eat and that really challenged McCandless capacity for self-reliance.
“One of his last acts was to take a picture of himself, standing near the bus under the high Alaska sky, one hand holding his final note toward the camera lens, the other raised in a brave, beautiful farewell. His face is horribly emaciated, almost skeletal. But if he pitied himself in those last difficult hours—because he was so young, because he was alone, because his body had betrayed him and his will let him down—it’s not apparent from the photograph. He is smiling in the picture, and there is no mistaking the look in his eyes: Chris McCandless was at peace, serene as a monk gone to God” Into the Wild 199. This quote is the final passage of Into the Wild and it really gathers all themes the book has and forms an understanding message to reader. Krakauer complements McCandless for his bravery Into the Wild, rather than criticize him for being selfish and reckless like some people thought. The language that the author uses is simple and understanding, so as the reader the author wants you to remember Chris McCandless as happy. As you can see the author refuses to argues that Mccandless is reckless, irresponsible and selfish when all he’s trying to do is to live his life freely and happily alone.
In conclusion, “Into the Wild” I understood Chris McCandless behavior and action because the authors use of language. When I first read the novel I thought of McCandles as an arrogant, irresponsible, selfish person and that’s just me reading the summary of the book. But taking an insight in the book really cause me to open my eyes and look at mcCandless differently. One reason begin, he’s an independent young man who didn’t want to be in society or follow anyone rules but himself. Chris thought following someone else’s rules meant you weren’t free and by rules I mean the government rules, and his parents rules.
Thinking of Transcendentalism in into the Wild
McCandless’s motivation for his venture into the wild is to detach himself from a societal life and begin a new one within nature living off the land. These ideals line up with the thinking of transcendentalist minds such has Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau strongly.
In prominent transcendentalists Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” or “Life in the Woods”, Thoreau detached himself from society and began a new life of solitude in the forest. He strongly expressed his views of society stating, “I want 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 rediscover that I had not lived” (193). By this Thoreau means that he decided to live a solitary life in the woods to lead a simpler one and in doing so he discovers that his life has not held true meaning until then. These convictions are almost identically shared with McCandless, whose rationale for his exodus from society being prominently for the beginning of a new life detached from the burdens of society and the “plastic” people within it. In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Nature”, he defines going into solitude as, “a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society”. By this he means that just simply being alone is not being in solitude, and that one must completely disown their ties to society to be truly isolated. Chris’s ideals and actions throughout the novel follow these ideals of Emerson closely and are indistinguishable at times.
Two main transcendentalist ideas from “Nature” and “Life in the Woods” that are expressed by Chris McCandless in “Into the Wild” include being contempt in nature and detachment from society to achieve true peace. McCandless’s belief of ultimate freedom is expressed throughout the novel, in his own words meaning true freedom by escaping from reality and no longer having to follow the rules created by other people. In the novel, Chris states that, “The very basic care of a mans living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joyed life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than new experience to hear an endless changing. For each day to have a new and different sun” (50). In this quote, Chris explains that this level of freedom is achieved through a life in nature and in the world as opposed to one bound to the laws of society, reinforcing his deeply rooted transcendentalist ideals. When Ralph Waldo Emerson states, “These are the voices which we hear in solitude but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company in which the members agree for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater” (186), this quote directly relates to Chris McCandless’s beliefs of society, who believes that there is no meaning in a societal lifestyle and that a life in nature is far superior. Chris views life in society as extremely boring and believes that the fullest life can only be achieved by living off the land in nature. Chris stood with these ideals, leaving his successful societal life for one in the wilderness- eventually leading him to his death. Standing with his ideals until his very last breath, deciding on a death of his own fruition in the wild than that of one in society.
The very foundation of transcendentalism is the belief that society and its institutions corrupt the purity of the individual. Throughout the book, Chris McCandless is exposed to these ideals and embraces them- often attempting to impose them upon others. For example, when Chris is speaking to Rob Franz he states, “make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. 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” (40), his reasoning for his quest into the wild is revealed. Chris’s ideals are almost by definition transcendentalist in nature as at his core, Chris believes that to lead a truly happy and satisfactory life, one must shed themselves of all societal burdens and life a free life. These ideals are shared with renown thinkers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, reinforcing them as being transcendentalist.