Jon Krakauer's Into The Wild Essay

1040 words - 4 pages

     In Jon Krakauer's novel Into the Wild, the main character, Chris McCandless, seeks nature so that he can find a sense of belonging and the true meaning of who he is. However, it is the essence of nature that eventually takes his life away from him. At the end of his life, he is discovers his purpose and need of other people. After Chris McCandless death in Alaska, Krakauer wrote Into the Wild to reflect on the journey that McCandless makes. Krakauer protrays McCandless as a young man who is reckless, selfish, and arrogant, but at the same time, intelligent, determined, independent, and charismatic. Along with the irony that occurs in nature, these characteristics are the several factors that contribute to McCandless death.
     Chris McCandless is a young man who chooses to alienate himself from society. After graduating college, Chris embarks on several journeys in the outdoors. Chris buys a car and departs to the West, eventually hoping to make a trip to Alaska. Modeling himself after Tolstoy ( a transcendentalist writer), Chris looks to be one with nature, yet neglects to see its danger. Naively, Chris seeks nature as a place of belonging and a site of adventure. Just as Chris is trying to overcome the dangers of nature, he is overcoming the doubts that he has within himself, which include his fears of developing close and personal relationships and his fear of being judged. The trip to Alaska pushes Chris to his limits and in the end he finally comes to identify with himself, comes to grips with his personality, and be driven all by himself, rather than by the needs or responsibilities of society or others. In addition to using nature as a way to find himself, Chris also uses nature as a method of avoiding his own realities, such as his relationship troubles with his parents. Chris refuses to confront his parents with the troubles of their relationship. In a letter to his sister Carine, Chris states:
     “Since they won’t ever take me seriously, for a few months after graduation I’m going to let them think they are right, I’m going to let them think I’m coming around to see their side of things and that our relationship is stabilizing. And then once the time is right, with one abrupt, swift action I’m going to divorce them as my parents once and for all and never speak to either of those idiots again as long as I live. I’ll be through with them once and for all, forever” (Krakuer 64).

The long journeys were needed means of escape of these troubles. In nature, Chris focused only on himself and survival, rather than his troubles at home, the needs of others, or the standards of society. In a way, he was forced to go into the outdoors because of these poor relationships and inner conflicts within himself. Although Chris sought nature to help him, it destroyed him. He never returned from Alaska to put into practice what he had finally learned about himself and his need for others. Nature and his plan had...

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