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Into the Wild Essay

into the wild essay

Example #1

The name of this book is Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. This book is based on a true story about a young man who goes on a journey. The author takes the real story of what happens to this boy and actual quotes written by real people to show why this boy would want to go on such a journey and what his purpose was. Jon Krakauer the author was a journalist who had to write an article on this incident.

He was so fascinated by this story that he took time out to do a one-year research project on what really went on before this boy had gone in the woods on this survival mission. Jon does not look at what this boy has done as a crazy and abnormal thing. He looked at the boy as someone with the courage and a wide view of life.

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Alex is the fake name that Chris McCandless gave Jim Gallien when they first met. Chris was a young teenage boy who wanted to get away from civilization. He wonders if a man could survive on his own with the assistance of man-made things. He decided to take a trip into the wild woods of Alaska. Chris did not have any contact with his family and no one knew that he was going on this great journey.

Well, Chris went on his journey into the great forest of Alaska and 4 months after his body was found decomposed. Krakauer the author views this boy’s challenge as an adventure to discover nature on his own without the help of anyone or anything. He wanted to go on his own journey into the wild. What I think this book is saying is that there are people in our world who rebel against modern human civilization. These people don’t feel comfortable in modern society and feel that isolation is their only way to feel at home.

This book is showing how a person uses their stubbornness and free will to go against society and try to take on nature. The message that this book is trying to get across is that everyone does not want to be a part of society. Some people want to be alone and isolated away from everybody else because they may feel that they are different then everyone else when they really are not. The author uses an outdoor wilderness setting to show how a person would want to use it as an escape away from civilization.

This book relates to Thoreau and his mentality of how he thinks life should be. Thoreau’s thought process was similar to this boy and he would agree in what this boy is trying to do. Thoreau believed that people should escape and go into the wild. He to was the kind of person who would isolate himself from everyone else.

Chris reminds me of Thoreau because of the way he went about life. He was from a well off family and lived a pretty well of life. He also got good grades and was an outstanding athlete. Even though he had all of this, he still was not happy. He wanted something else different. He gave all his money away in his savings account to charity and burned all the cash in his wallet. After this is he turned to nature. He thought that getting away would make him feel life for what it really is, but he wanted to do this alone. Chris and Thoreau’s view on how the American dream should be was not the same as how everyone else viewed it. They did not want success.

They wanted independents away from everyone. They wanted to feel free. That’s how this book is connected to our class studies of the American dream. Chris’s and Thoreau’s American dream is different then everyone else’s. Does nobody really know why they think this way but that?s what makes this book so interesting. The audience wants to know why Chris?s wants to go on this journey so badly. We want to know what his goal is and why he hates the nice life that he has now.

If there was supposed to be a movie made from this book. The actors I would choose to play the parts in this film would be the following. Brad Pit as Chris because he seems like the type of person who has a well of life but wants something different. Also, he looks like he would want to go on an adventure like this into the wild. I would make Bruce Willis play as Jim Gallien because he seems like he could play this role as a rouged but kind person. He seems like he would be a caring person if he were in the same position to help Chris. This book would only make a successful movie if it only shows the scenes when Chris goes into the wild and try to survive on his own.

This was a good book because it thought me that everyone does not view life the same as average people in society. Some people want something different out of life and the only way they can find it is by discovering it by there selves. Chris was not abnormal, he just did not feel like he was getting all he could get out of life. The only thing that he could have done was go on his little adventure a little more prepared.

Chris did not have the right kind of equipment need to survive in the wild environment of Alaska. If he did he would still be alive today. He was not crazy, he was just different from the average person. That?s why what he did was a brave thing. Chris had the courage and that?s something that a lot of people don’t have.


Example #2

Jon Krakauer wrote a biography, Into The Wild (1996), describing a man’s, Chris McCandless, life before and during his journey to Alaska to be able to discover himself and a new life while leaving his family with worry and pain. Jon Krakauer has demonstrated Chris’s relationship with his family, like his father who he did not get along with, and his sister who he adored so much, and how he left his family without warning or ever contacting them during his journey.

Chris McCandless has always been around money and a caring family that he wanted to see the reality of the real world where the money is not in it or the importance of his family. He supports his claim by describing McCandless’s journey while meeting new people and experiencing new things like living independently and not being around so much money as his family. Krakauer has discussed his own experiences, in the book, traveling to Alaska like McCandless, comparing their experiences based on McCandless’s journal and Chris’s acquaintances that he has met on his journey.

The author made sure to include many thoughts and opinions on Chris McCandless’s courageous journey without the right equipment and money to help him get through. At the end of the book, Krakauer described the death of Chris McCandless in Alaska on the magic bus, died from starvation because he was unprepared. Krakauer’s purpose is to show how reckless, selfish, and courageous someone can be in order to discover themselves and finding the meaning of life while also impacting others” lives. Jon Krakauer adopts an empathetic tone for people who want to discover themselves and travel to do so.

If Chris McCandless were to look back at his inspirational journey and see the grief and pain he caused his family, he would have still gone on this journey because it was the only way for him to find his independence and find himself. Chris McCandless had met many people, went unprepared on purpose, traveled on his own, and depended on himself. Although Chris McCandless went on a difficult journey while leaving pain and grief to his family, he did live an inspiring life because he followed his dream journey to discover himself without letting anything stop him. Some people would not leave their family unannounced and cause so much grief and worry, but Chris McCandless did. Chris McCandless’s family had expected so much from him like him going to Emory college and graduate from the school his father went to.

McCandless has been living in Atlanta for a while and was able to call and send letters to his family to keep them updated about his life, but then he stopped contacting them which led to them going to Atlanta to see what was going on and they found his apartment empty without him. In the book, it stated, “Five weeks earlier held loaded all his belongings into his little car and headed west without an itinerary…an epic journey that would change everything.” (Krakauer, 22)

Jon Krakauer has shown what McCandless has done before his parents showed up. He meant that McCandless has followed his dream that will change him. Chris McCandless has made sure to not warn his family at all about his leave. This may have been a tough one for McCandless since he did everything to satisfy them and kept them updated. McCandless has also kept a close bond with his little sister, Carine McCandless, which he also caused grief to in the end.

Carine was more understanding of why her brother left which she said in the book, “…But I didn’t really feel hurt by his failure to write. I knew he was happy and doing what he wanted to do; I understood that it was important for him to see how independent he could be…”(125) Both family members felt different from the situation on why Chris left without warning. McCandless was able to go on his journey with the worries he left his family not letting it disturb him.

Throughout his journey to Alaska McCandless had met many people who offered their help to him. Chris McCandless had started going by the name Alex Supertramp or Alex McCandless when he began his journey and met his first acquaintance. Beginning of the book Jim Gallien was coming from Fairbanks and picked up a hitchhiker, Chris McCandless, taking him to the stampede trail. During the car ride, Gallien got to know more about what Chris was carrying which made Gallien concerned since the young man was unprepared. In the book he has stated, “There was just no talking the guy out of it,” Gallien remembers. “He was determined… He couldn’t wait to head out there and get started.”(6)

Jim Gallien meant that he tried to scare the boy but Chris would not back down. Gallien noticed how determined Chris was to explore the wild without the right equipment, cold weather, and not enough food to last him. The speaker, Gallien, and I both noticed how determined McCandless was for his wild journey. Letting nothing stop him even if it means he may not survive.

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Chris McCandless has been working at Mcdonalds and many coworkers would offer him help or a ride home since he came to work many times smelling awful. In the book Krakauer has written, “ McCandless had tried to disguise the fact he was a drifter living out of a backpack: He told his fellow employees that he lived across the river in Laughlin.” (41) McCandless has been camping and squatting in vacant homes.

He was hiding that he was homeless, so possibly no would feel bad or offer help. McCandless was having a difficult moment where he had to work for his money and not let people know he was homeless, because he would not accept any help. In the end, Chris McCandless was able to make it to his final destination in his journey, Alaska. After Jim Gallien had dropped him off at the Stampede Trail, Chris found himself in the “magic bus”.

The magic bus was a bus stranded in the Stampede Trail where it got stuck during the snowing season so people left it for others to stay in and keep warm. While he was able to make it, he got poisoned by some seeds he was mistaken. In Chris McCandless’s journal, he wrote, “DAY 100! MADE IT!” he noted jubilantly on August 5, proud of achieving such a significant milestone. “But in the weakest condition of life. Death looms as serious threat…trapped in wild…’” (195)

Chris knew he was not going to make it but every day for him was an achievement surviving. This was a difficult time for McCandless since he was getting weak and getting close to death. Chris McCandless knew about the possibilities of dying and he still took the chance to go unprepared and able to achieve his dream. Everyone had something or someone that inspired them to do something with their lives or choices like for Chris McCandless it was Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy.

In Family Happiness by Leo Tolstoy, it stated, “I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life.” (15) This passage was highlighted in McCandless’s book found with him.

This quote related to his family since they were not a close family since the parents expected a lot from Chris and always pushed for the perfect son. In the book, Chris mentions that his father was with his first wife during the time Billie, Chris’s mother, had Chris McCandless, which led to Chris McCandless being angry at that fact. Chris did not have a close bond with his father for that reason also.

Another passage was highlighted in Walden, Or Life In The Woods by Henry David Thoreau and it stated, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me the truth. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance an obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not, and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board. The hospitality was as cold as the ices.” (117)

Chris McCandless believed he did not need so much money or the love from his family to explore and he wanted to make Thoreau and Tolstoy proud. McCandless burned his money where he decided to leave his Datsun, his car, and some other items. Krakauer has stated, “…he arranged all his paper currency in a pile on the sand–a pathetic little stack of ones and fives and twenties–and put a match to it…” (29)

McCandless wanted to tramp around and hitchhike. He wanted to live a life that does not involve money. This was quite inspiring since Chris was always around money and the wealth of his family, but he was able to leave that behind and not let it run his life. Although Chris McCandless did leave grief and pain to his family as he left unannounced, he did live an inspiring life because he was able to become self-aware and independent.

This journey of his has let him be more self-aware of himself and life, he wanted to experience another life experience besides jobs and school. He was able to just pack a few things and leave while his family stayed behind. Chris McCandless lived without money and the right materials to stay in the wild on purpose. If Chris McCandless could look back then he would not regret anything that happened, which was that he was able to learn and achieve his journey.


Example #3

The text on the dust jacket of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild makes it clear that the thread of suspense running through this compelling book isn’t necessarily tied to the fate of its subject. “In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley,” the jacket reads. “His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless.

He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.”

With the demise of McCandless already revealed, Krakauer concentrates on the forces that drove the devotee of Thoreau, Tolstoy, and Jack London to the icy environs of Alaska and, ultimately, to his death. Krakauer’s skill as an investigative reporter is impressive, but it is his ability to reveal McCandless’ inner motives that makes Into the Wild such an intriguing book.

Instead of coming across as just an antisocial misfit, McCandless emerges as a disciplined, uncompromising individual guided by an earnest brand of asceticism. The same determination that helped him excel as a high school cross-country star enables him to survive the vagabond lifestyle he embraces after college. For McCandless, rejecting mainstream society doesn’t mean publishing a zine. He rides the rails, canoes to Mexico on a whim, and survives it all on nothing more than wits, luck, and an ever-present bag of rice.

In an increasingly crowded world, it was difficult for McCandless to find the physical isolation he sought, but his inward journey was more important than his external surroundings. Krakauer, a writer for the Outside magazine who obviously shares McCandless’ wanderlust, explains often esoteric inclinations in a clear, revealing way.

“In coming to Alaska, McCandless yearned to wander the uncharted country, to find a blank spot on the map,” Krakauer writes. “In 1992, however, there were no more blank spots on the map–not in Alaska, not anywhere. But Chris, with his idiosyncratic logic, came up with an elegant solution to this dilemma: He simply got rid of the map. In his own mind, if nowhere else, the terra would thereby remain incognita.”

While McCandless viewed nature and solitude as the keys to fulfillment, he profoundly touched those he encountered on the road prior to his fatal journey to Alaska. While prone to introspective musings on the meaning of life, the well-read McCandless could just as easily knock back a few shots of Jack Daniel’s and entertain his new-found friends with his piano playing. He comes across as engaging yet ultimately unapproachable in his brash pursuit of raw, austere experience.

Krakauer succeeds in capturing McCandless’s unique personality even as he establishes links between his subject and a loose fraternity of adventurers who also took to the wild in search of meaning and identity.

Over the years, Alaska has been a magnet for intrepid characters who trek into the bush, never to reappear. For example, Gene Rosellini, the son of a wealthy Seattle restaurateur, hoped to return to a natural state by scavenging and hunting game with spears and snares. He endured Alaska’s bitter winters clad only in rags and fashioned a windowless hut without the benefit of saw or ax.

After declaring this experiment a failure, Rosellini made plans to walk around the world, but he never got the chance. He was found lying face down on the floor of his shack in 1991, dead of a self-inflicted knife wound to the heart.

This and other fascinating parallel case studies offer only a glimpse of what prompted McCandless to commune with the harshest side of nature. Arguing that McCandless is more of a “pilgrim” than a “bush-casualty stereotype,” Krakauer searches for others who mirror him more accurately.

Everett Ruess, a young adventurer described by Wallace Stegner in Mormon Country as “a callow romantic, an adolescent esthete, an atavistic wanderer of the wastelands,” comes closest. In the early ’30s, Ruess embarked on a wilderness adventure in Utah and was never seen again. Writing to his brother in 1934, Ruess foreshadowed McCandless’ feelings: “I prefer the saddle to the streetcar and star-sprinkled sky to a roof, the obscure and difficult trail, leading into the unknown, to any paved highway, and the deep peace of the wild to the discontent bred by cities.”

Krakauer’s own foolhardy, yet determined, attempts to climb “an intrusion of diorite mountain called the Devils Thumb” in Alaska during his youth sheds still further light on McCandless. Based on his own experience, Krakauer convincingly argues that McCandless wasn’t suicidal, as many have speculated. Instead, he was ruled by the “heedlessness” and “gap-ridden logic of youth” that makes the concept of death as abstract “as non-Euclidean geometry or marriage.”

Despite his fate, it is difficult to say that McCandless died in vain. Or to deny that his approach to life is an enviable one in many respects. Although McCandless would probably scoff at the notion, he is a profoundly American figure, uncompromising in his approach and thoroughly optimistic about the future.

In an age when the idea of “roughing it” is synonymous with a sport-utility vehicle and an expensive trip to North Face, McCandless was in touch with the bare-bones essence of nature. He is also a reminder of what can happen when you take an all-or-nothing approach to the wild.

In the early spring of 1992, Jon Krakauer was asked by the editor of the Outside magazine to report on the mysterious death of a young man whose badly decomposed body was found in the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley in Alaska. The resulting article described a young man by the name of Christopher McCandless-a young man who ended up dead in the Alaskan wilderness because of a convoluted mixture of immense personal desire, unforgiving respect for nature, and a degree of unintended recklessness.

Following the Outside article, Krakauer received puzzling letters and postcards from people who encountered McCandless during his two-year journey before his death. Coupled with an intense curiosity about the circumstances surrounding McCandless’s death and a personal connection he felt with this young man, Krakauer set out to find answers.

The result is Into the Wild, a fascinating matrix of stories describing McCandless and his adventurous life, mingled with tales of the author and others who, like McCandless, possess the burning desire to compete with nature under extreme circumstances.

After graduating with honors from Emory University in 1990, McCandless donated his entire savings of $25, 000 to charity, loaded his scant possessions into his used Datsun and disappeared into the fringes of North America without saying good-bye. He was an ardent reader of London, Tolstoy, and Thoreau, as well as other philosophers and nature writers.

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He particularly enjoyed Tolstoy, adopting his principles of asceticism, living a life of desolation and poverty. He renounced his name and former life, introducing himself as Alexander Supertramp to the people he met during the two years before his death. His travels are pieced together from letters and interviews with the people McCandless encountered, along with the occasional journal entry by McCandless himself.

He left a remarkable impression on those he met. The image of McCandless is one of a nature-loving nomad who lived in campgrounds, hitched rides, hopped trains, and tested his will and endurance to survive in the wilderness of North America.

The descriptions of the people touched by the wake of McCandless, juxtaposed with Krakauer’s tales of his own nearly tragic mountaineering, provide a spine-tingling and haunting account. This book is a powerful, commanding view of the awesome effect that nature has on the minds of young men who are committed to honor and revere the living world.


Example #4

Chris McCandless, the main character of Into the Wild, is searching for his true self. His numerous tests of both his physical and mental abilities are proof of his determination. He felt affected in his family’s presence so he went on a road trip. He was criticized by many for this, but who could stop him from discovering who he is. It is clear from the novel that Chris’s relationship with his parents is not good. He refuses gifts from them and then disappears. He had instructed his family that he was not interested in giving or receiving gifts.

When his father offered to buy him a new car he became enraged. He had a car and couldn’t understand why his father would buy him a new one. Chris took the money that his family had left him for college and donated it to Oxfam which gives food to the hungry. This is ironic because Chris eventually died from starvation. Many people criticize McCandless for not keeping in touch with his parents and family. Chris was 22 years old. He did not have to tell his parents anything. He was doing what he wanted, not what other people wanted him to do and he was happy.

They call him selfish for disregarding his parent’s feelings. McCandless was living his life for himself. He wanted to be happy and it happened to upset his parents. Wanting your own happiness is not selfish it is your right. I don t think that McCandless was trying to upset his family, he was just trying to make himself happy by doing what he wanted to do.

One of the reasons that I believe McCandless did not keep in contact with his parents while he kept in touch with those he met along the way is because he was afraid of disapproval. His parents had never been to find of his adventures so he didn’t want to hear them voice their disapproval. The people he met along the way may not have approved of his travels but they weren’t going to tell him not to do it. McCandless needed these people.

He needed approval because in his mind that gave him the ok to go ahead. After all his main goal was to find himself. If he had his parents disapproval hanging over him the entire time that would have proved difficult. In the end, McCandless found what he was looking for. He found himself. He tested his limits and unfortunately found out what they were. Whether it was his intent to test his limits to the end as he did is unknown. He had escaped his parents grasp and discovered his own personality, One that was not driven by others’ needs or responsibilities. It was his true self.


Example #5

When we have a discussion about topics that include literary genres it is very important to start by defining what that genre really is by the definition of standard categories of literary genres.

Our main topic is a biography, so our start is from the definition of biography in the literary world. Biography belongs to non-fiction common genres. It represents a detailed description of a person’s life which involves a person’s experience of these life events. Unlike a profile or curriculum vitae (résumé) which is a set of raw data, a biography presents a subject’s life story.

Highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, and additionally may include an analysis of the subject’s personality. But here comes the part which is very important for our topic “Biographies are usually written by memories of the subject!”

As we can see from the definition, this is the first important fact with respect to our question: “Is it possible for a biography to be truly impartial” the answer is no! It cannot be impartial because as we all know memories are not a reliable source of information. Because a human being is not able to gather all the memories during his life, usually only that kind of memories which he marked as important for his life.

This implies that, as a writer writes about himself and from memory there is always the possibility that something is exaggerated or impaired, or that because of love or hate towards something or someone, he may give greater importance to some details, but ignore others.

If we take Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild as a great example of a biography that can be truly impartial, we can definitely affirm our statements. We know that the writer has a certain connection with the main character Chris McCandless.

Both of them had exploring spirit and were in desperate need to be truly autonomous and live their lives deliberately. Also one of the main connections between two of them is the person who stands on their way in that attempt-father figure. But as Jon Krakauer said himself  “I won’t claim to be an impartial biographer.” It is obvious he can’t be impartial.

Krakauer sees similarities between the main character Chris and himself, but he makes certain assumptions about Chris’s motivation and desires that he might not otherwise make. Krakauer as well points to his depart from Chris McCandless’s final ideology, which killed him, he finds it difficult to completely extricate himself from the narrative.

Jan makes it clear that his authorial presence does interrupt the narrative which draws from his own youthful experiences. From this point of view, it is more than obvious that Into the Wild can’t be impartial when the writer has let the facts be diluted with his own passion and experience.


Example #6

Sometimes a character may be pushed over the edge by our materialistic society to discover his/her true roots, which can only be found by going back to nature where monetary status was not important.  Chris McCandless leaves all his possessions and begins a trek across the Western United States, which eventually brings him to the place of his demise-Alaska.

Jon Krakauer makes you feel like you are with Chris on his journey and uses exerts from various authors such as Thoreau, London, and Tolstoy, as well as flashbacks and narrative pace and even is able to parallel the adventures of Chris to his own life as a young man in his novel Into the Wild. Krakauer educates himself on McCandless’s story by talking to the people that knew Chris the best. These people were not only his family but the people he met on the roads of his travels- they are the ones who became his road family.

McCandless, an intelligent child, to say the least, was frustrated with orders by anyone.  He wanted to do things his way or no way and he does this throughout his life.  Whether it was getting an F in physics because he refused to write lab reports a certain way (an F was something that was never on McCandless report card) or not listening to advice from his parents to the extreme of leaving society to go into the wilderness, McCandless definitely was not a follower.  His parents were told by one of his teachers at an early age that Chris “marched to the beat of his own drummer”.

Chris never lost his ability to do things the way he wanted and when he wanted to do them.  After receiving his diploma from Emory in 1990 he set off on a two-year escapade that would eventually end his life but in my opinion, if Chris could start over he would probably not do things much differently. I think he would still donate his $25,000 to an organization, leave his car in the woods, burn the remainder of his money, and hitch-hiked across the United States. The only thing he might do differently is finding a way not to starve to death at the end of the novel.

At the beginning of each chapter, Krakauer includes one or two experts from various authors of nature such as Thoreau, Tolstoy, or London. Once in a while, he even includes postcards that Chris had sent to some of the people he met along his journey, which shows what he was feeling throughout the trip. Some of the experts were taken from what was highlighted in the books found with Chris on the bus he was discovered dead in.  Other exerts were just chosen by Krakauer to help give the reader a sense of what other naturalists were thinking when they left civilization (Thoreau for example).

The last postcard ever received by Chris was addressed to one of his friends that he met along his trip.  Wayne Westerberg was the one who was delivered the postcard that included the line “if this adventure proves fatal and you don’t ever hear from me again I want you to know you’re a great man.  I now walk into the wild.”  Chris almost knew that he would not make it out of the wild alive.

Chris was seeking adventure. His trip to Alaska was the “drug” that made him high. “I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence.  I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.  I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life.” – Leo Tolstoy-highlighted in one of the books found with McCandlesss remains. Krakauer wastes no time getting into the story and tells the reader from the beginning that McCandless eventually reaches the end of his journey of life in Alaska but he still leaves out enough to make the story interesting and he introduces the information that fills the gaps of the story through flashback.

The reader knows that there is not going to be a happy ending in Into the Wild.  It is no secret that McCandless does not survive but the reader still wants to continue reading to get into the mind of McCandless.  What would cause a bright and compassionate child to leave a safe environment and venture into the wild to have brushes with death on an everyday basis? The yearning that some people have to live on the dangerous side and get away from it all is the only answer. Krakauer only introduces Chris as the kid who dies in Alaska at the beginning of the novel but he uses flashback to create a picture of Chris to the reader as the novel progresses.

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He shows Chris as the child who grew more and more outraged with society every year of his life and eventually sought nature and solitude to get away from it all. Chris was not someone who you would expect to do something like this by reading descriptions of him. Who would think that a person who cares so much about others, who would go as far as to give out food to the homeless in Washington on his Friday nights or let a vagabond sleep in his parent’s camper would isolate himself from people?

Chris is depicted as an outgoing child who can succeed at anything he puts his mind to and who does not need to work hard to learn things but refuses to waste time on perfection because he feels he can use his time more wisely.  He could have excelled in every sport but he never wanted to fine-tune any parts of his athleticism. The only sport he worked hard at was running. Something that Chris was good at. He was not only good at running races but also from running away from people.

He ran away from the anger he had for his father for leading a double life by living with his first family and Chriss’s family at the same time without anyone knowing. Chris found this information out on one of his first trips and internalized the pain.  He never could bring himself to address his father with this and instead only built up anger that eventually led him further and further away from home. I believe that this pain contributed to Chriss’s lack of caring to call his parents while he was in other parts of the country.  Instead, Chris formed almost a new family of people he touched along his quest.

Chris met many people who helped him along the way. He made an impact on everyone he met.  People know him as both Chris McCandless and Alex Supertramp. He began calling himself Alex along his travels.  Many other adventures that traveled into the wild changed their name also so it is possible that Chris was just following along. This is doubtful though because Chris was not a follower. For some reason or another he probably just wanted to change his name, maybe to completely separate himself from his old identity.  This identity was the one his parents and siblings knew him as.

Chris loved his sister but just could not get along with his mother and father even though he would always have a love for them and they would also love, be attached, and worried about him. This rift between parents and children caused much of the motivation for Chris to leave.  His final name was inscribed in various areas around where he was found dead at the bus site.

Whether it was a traveling couple or a man who owned a grain business, Chris had a spot in all of their hearts.  Wayne Westerberg was one of the main helpers of Chris along the way. Chris was not only Waynes employee at the grain factory but he was also his friend and Wayne played a fatherly role to Chris.  Chris would write Wayne more often than he would his own father and would visit him when he needed to make money for supplies for his next trip.

Chris sent his final postcard to Wayne and even hinted that the postcard might be the last contact they ever had.  People who just gave him a ride and some free supplies also remember Chris. Anyone who he met remembers him because he was a truly unique individual. One of the main people that Chris effected was the author of this novel.

Jon Krakauer is much like the main character of the biography. Both Jon and Chris yearned for adventure.  Both were mountain climbers and both enjoyed the outdoors. Neither one got along with their fathers with tremendous ease and both found ways to escape the restrictions that were put on them by society. Krakauer found his outlet by writing in outdoor magazines and by writing novels. He was able to survive his trips but he was close to death a couple of times also.

Once he decided to climb a mountain that had never been climbed before called Devils Thumb.  Just like Chris, he refused to give up and after much adversity, he finally conquered his goal and reached the top of the mountain. Chris never gave up any of his dreams. He traveled when people told him not to, he went into the wild when people told him it was too dangerous, he lived life to the fullest no matter what anyone said.  I think the author is envious of this and that is why he decided to write a novel on Chris after writing an article on him in a magazine first.

Chris McCandless or Alexander Supertramp either name cannot describe the incredible person that he was.  He left on a trip that would change his life forever but it also would change the lives of his family, the people he met, and the author.  Chris wanted to separate himself from society but instead, he brought people closer to him by just acting natural and living out his dream.


Example #7 – Assessment Of Into The Wild

Although precisely on target in his assessment of Chris McCandless being “in touch with the bare-bones essence of nature”, Gordon Young’s preceding description of Chris should be rephrased: A profoundly Un-American figure, uncompromising in his approach and thoroughly optimistic about the future. Chris McCandless did not set out to show or prove his American character. Neither does he approve or want to exemplify a true modern American character, because true American character does not seek solitude, preferring “the saddle to the streetcar”, or “the star-sprinkled sky to a roof”, or, especially, “the obscure and difficult trail, leading into the unknown, to any paved highway and the deep place of the wild to the discontent bred by cities”, as states Everett Ruess. In fact, in today’s world of never-ending comforts and conveniences, nature and “getting away” means setting up a tent in the backyard, or driving our RV to a campground, plug in the heat, the television, and the cell phone and drinking a beer.

Yes, Chris McCandless exemplified what it is to be unconventional, untraditional, nature-loving. What’s more important, Chris showed us a particular degree of freedom, what true liberty is about–the freedom not only of the individual but the freedom of something much higher than that–the freedom of the mind. Freedom from societal restraints of always having to be someone, playing some role.

More than anyone, so far, Chris has shown me a true identity, for in a place where one is alone for miles around, a place where survival is an hourly task, where the only surroundings are the wildlife, where one is surrounded by constant paradoxical issues (beauty and danger, the life of nature and death in nature, physical restraints such as hunger and complete freedom of the intellect and mind), a place where the only companions are Leo Tolstoy, Henry David Thoreau, and Jack London, themselves unimposed individuals with a capacity to love nature and a desire to be free–if in such a place a man cannot be simply a man, his own self–there will never be such a place and time of individuality. If one cannot find an identity–his true self– here, he will never find it.

It is an interesting concept, nature, and freedom. For nature allows us to escape from our time–our societal-imposed schedule, our time clock and switch to nature’s clock–an interesting concept, for, if anything, it restricts us in many different ways: sundown signifies sleep and cold, rain shows us unavoidable wetness and misery, and dawn is a time of awakening.

Thus, in some ways, it is a restriction. Spiritually, however, it is freedom through connection with nature–going at nature’s pace, at a NATURAL pace, not at our own artificially-created, societal-imposed pace.

Nature also signifies another sort of intellectual freedom: the freedom to be yourself, the freedom from having to play a role. And in this way, nature is an ultimate test: without the cell phones and guns, the air conditioning and gasoline-powered conveniences, the individually-wrapped Twinkie bars and packaged water are we strong enough ourselves to survive within nature without all these conveniences we’ve created for ourselves? It is a test of worthiness of our existence on this planet, the worthiness of claiming ourselves as a part of nature. Chris showed us, and nature, that some of us are at least strong enough to attempt such an existence, to undergo such trial: he tried proving to the nature that we, as people, are worthy of such a claim.

Chris, however, did not set out to prove anything to nature, or really, to anyone. Chris’ journey was a spiritual one, and a selfish one (so selfish, in fact, that he did not care about the effect of his actions on others, such as his family). Chris did not raise pledges and donate that to charity (although he did give away his possessions and savings in an effort to rid himself of “superficial baggage”.

Nor did he publicize what he had set out to do. Chris’ journey was a personal crusade of a search for inner and outer solitude, of living off the land, of ridding self of that which hinders us from being ourselves. His was a search of what life is about, and I greatly admire his personality, his intellect, and his strength in having done what he did.

I admire his quest for knowledge, his seeking own identity, and what he might find (as well as, to a certain degree his naivety and stupidity, although this is what killed him, yet both of these are what kept him on this quest. The saying “God watches out for fools and drunks” is true in Chris’ case–God kept him safe for a long time so that Chris could discover what he discovered for himself).

No, Chris certainly does not represent an American character in today’s society–he represents and can be associated with someone from the great tradition of American literature, from Huck Finn to Jack London and from Thoreau to Ernest Hemingway.

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Into the Wild Essay. (2020, Jun 03). Retrieved March 27, 2023, from