Existentialism In Into The Wild, By Jon Krakauer

2243 words - 9 pages

The existentialist is one who is concerned only with that intense moment of awareness with only his senses at his disposal, never looking to the future – the most living awareness. McCandles, the protagonist, in Into the Wild has come to the realization that existence is already being dead and accepting the fact that life is absurd and marvelous. embraced the sublime absurdity of existence by renouncing the language games society plays. What is so enticing about the existentialist is that he is not concerned with the pressure of appearances and small talk which society employs to lie about what they think and feel. Existentialism is accepting the inevitability of death and living life ...view middle of the document...

He points out that his parents may be under the impression that they are free but it is their material aspirations and obsession with the ways of society that imprisons them and bars them from their own happiness. McCandless describes his family life as theatrical – a play for everyone to see yet behind the curtain they are people who destroy each other and destroy the innocence of their children and rob them of all happiness. He sees the absurdity in their behaviour, how they discard their happiness for the sake of fitting into society as the classic nuclear family.
Not being able to make sense of society McCandless feels that he must escape from civilization and turn inward. In the film, McCandless sister tells of how he would never concern himself with what others thought or what he would prepare himself to aspire to in the future. The existentialist does not prepare himself for a certain path in the future and like Meursault, McCandless chooses to live a solitary life in which he accepts that the world is constantly chaotic in their quests for their ideals, so much that they forget to live. Camus suggests that, although the existentialist is not imprisoned by the martyr-like complex of the religious, the values and ideals of disciplinary society or any concept of eternal life, there is still the limit of a death. It is this awareness that allows him to experience the most living awareness and that is at the essence of McCandless being. He chooses a life in the wild, believing that going back to Mother Nature will allow him to narrow the void that language and it games have put between humans and creation. Like the existentialist, he cannot understand why we should complicate the simplicity of existence. Materialistic aspirations, ridiculous disciplines and standards for a communal behavioural code are all meaningless to the existentialist. McCandless escape into the wild is brought on by his longing for freedom in simplicity and a longing to escape from the pressures of a society that lives for reputation and ambition.
McCandless attends and graduates from college mainly in order to satisfy his parents wishes and desire to prepare him for his future. This can definitely be considered playing the game. McCandless never feels that he belongs in society yet in order to satisfy it he goes through college and graduates in order that his parents do not feel that their efforts were completely futile. He realizes that it is not the life he chose to lead, he receives a college education to satisfy his parents although he knows that for him success can never be measured by how much money he can accumulate or what reputation he can build but whether or not he can achieve complete happiness by finding something that is beyond the superficiality of life. We see during the film that McCandless sees the stupidity of his parents pride as they show him off and try to make him feel more of a man for getting through college successfully. He plays the game...

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