Into the Wild, is 1996 a true story by Jon Krakauer, about the mysterious death and life of a talented man known as Christopher Johnson McCandless. Despite coming from an affluent and respectable family, he seemed to engage in the negative aspects of life. Many attempts were made to help him make something out of life, but it all seemed like a waste of time. As hardworking as he was, “I’ve given work to many hitchhikers before; the majority of them did not desire to work. Alex was different. He was the most hardworking person, I’ve ever encountered.” Westerberg says this about Christopher. The latter turned his back on everything that was vital to his life, as well as his well being.
After graduating in 1990, from Emory University, Christopher donated all his wealth to charity without any second thoughts. Later on, he disappeared and abandoned his personal identity and past, in order to start afresh away from his family and friends. It seems that Christopher was on his way to the eminent disaster brought upon by himself. He sorts to find ways to make sure that his parents do not locate him easily. Therefore, he makes an attempt to ensure that his mail is held for nearly a month before being returned to them. In turn, he has an opportunity to disappear from his parent, and engage in his life’s desires. Also, he can partake in what he wishes to without any parental supervision. In reality, in the end, the lack of parental guidance leads to his destruction. Christopher chose to live a life of misery thought wits and charity. This is despite the fact that his family could cater to his needs. The desire to attain self-independence made him ignore reality and instead live in oblivion. Although he was obedient, it seemed like he held a grudge against people in his life. On the other hand, his parents tried to find him, not knowing they are the reason behind his disappearance.
Allure into high- risk activities and danger is a prominent theme throughout the novel. The novel’s author does not imagine that allure to danger and risk is essential to everyone, rather it is of considerable necessity to Christopher. He is described as being passionate, intense, and ambitious as well as self- driven. Unfortunately, he is not satisfied with the challenges and opportunities presented to him by society. Christopher’s character is pitiful, as one gets to know more concerning his life and the problems he has brought to himself. His desire to achieve independence without thinking of the future is extremely disappointing. One can easily be convinced that there is a dark force taking control of his body. The troubled relationship he has, leads him to behave in this unruly manner without being cautious of any danger. There are other characters in the novel who exhibit the same behavior as Christopher, such as Waterman, and even Krauker.
Krakauer proves that he can easily resist from the issues that come his way from the decisions he make. Often, he evades danger and risk, and this is due to his cautious and thoughtful nature. Normal circumstances that would cause his premise are easily avoided by him. Into the Wild, makes the reader informed about the thrills usually accompanied by pure accomplishment experienced by the character. The latter is possible through the wilderness journeys that are undertaken by him. The thrill and feeling of accomplishment allow the traveler to feel that he truly is aware of all his abilities and what he can accomplish. He does not have to rely on others, society, parents, and his friends to survive or accomplish significant things. Excessive self-confidence can have a disastrous effect, as people need the help of others to survive.
It is extremely evident that wilderness, risk, danger, and adventure have an allure to McCandless and people who are the same as him. According to McCardell, wilderness, danger, risk, and adventure are better off, than the comfortable society he is used. The latter is known as living a carefree life oblivious of the negative impacts that it has. McCandlle’s character is viewed as being naïve and stupid. The only advantage of this journey is that he finds a few answers, directions and keys concerning his life.
Christopher wishes to live in the wilderness, despite the fact that the reality of living in the wilderness is not as easy as he might have imagined in the beginning. This life holds for him dangers and risks. According to Jim Gallien, “Living in the wild isn’t a picnic.”(P.5).He gives this advice to people who think that they can survive without the help of others. They are bound to suffer physically and emotionally.
Christopher proves that he is not intelligent, as he chooses to live in the wilderness, despite being aware of the dangers and risks. Self discovery is a journey that needs to be guided by people with a positive impact such as parents. Christopher spends most of his time trying to satisfy his anger. There is evidence that proves this fact. He does not seem to make progress in his life, but rather in things of no value. For example, most of his entries in his journal are about foods that he gathered and eat each day. The latter is a reasonable explanation as to why many of the writers he thought of as heroes like Jack London, never spent time in the wilderness living like McCandless.
The danger and risks associated with nature cannot be avoided as the book points them out. Nature is compared to a fickle beast that can turn from being an ally, who is extremely friendly to a cruel enemy at any moment. The character is, however, not blind to this fact. The experiences he derives from his journey and the literary works he likes to read clearly, prove that the laws of nature do not change for better for any man. Natural effect and the cause is shown to have the ability to work against any man easily, as well as to have the ability to work to their favor.
The author of the novel emphasizes the dangers associated with being in the wilderness in many situations. An example is when McCandless tried to live in one of his camps in July. Unfortunately, the melted ice had blocked his way. He wrote that he suffered from lack of food and starvation and he says, ‘extremely weak, fault of pot. Seed…. (P.191). This was an indication to living in the wild and its dangers that were extremely difficult.
Though the book was written in past years, its themes are applicable to the current society. A real life experience of this nature affected one of my closest friends. Ahmad, the friend I met while in 3rd grade class was affected by such circumstances. He was from a humble Muslim family. Towards, 10th grade, I noticed some changes in him. His attitude towards his family and close friends changed from positive to negative. He alienated himself in an attempt to pursue a “civilized” lifestyle. His parents and friends, including me, tried persuading him not to progress any further with his mission. He did not listen, and instead pursued his mission. He moved from home and joined a street gang and became a drug trafficker. The last time I saw him, was in the television as he was being arrested and put into a cell, with some of his gang members. He looked worn out and with no hopes of having a better life. The path he chose to follow, in turn saw him face the harsh realities of life.
The novel addresses the dangers facing youths in society. Like Christopher, many youths are courting danger without their knowledge. They isolate themselves from their parents, relatives and close friends, and view them as an obstacle to their pleasures of life. In their race from the people who can make a positive impact on their life, they end up being in the ‘wilderness of life’. They enter into trouble, and end up messing their lives. Though some may undergo complete physical death, some may survive, and experience a disguised form of death. For instance, their dreams, ambitions and hopes to live successful lives come to an end. Others even end up becoming mentally sick, after realizing that they cannot come out of their own wilderness. Some end up acquiring long lasting diseases, which are psychological, financial, and physical related. In conclusion, moral guidance should be given to children as they are growing up. It will have a positive impact in their lives in the future.
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