Into The Wild - Kelly Frazer-Modica          

Into The Wild Essay

Kelly Frazer-Modica
Writing and Recreation Cluster/Ashby/Week 8
Into the Wild

Chris McCandless was a determined young man. From an early age, he wanted to do things his way or no way at all. Chris had an amazing spirit, the ambition to succeed, and the drive to make things happen. Chris desires to live by his own moral code, his law and not the law of anyone else’s that would put shackles on his psyche. Chris was a polite and well educated fellow, good athlete, and high achiever in his studies both in grade school up through college. However, after college he had a different plan for himself than his folks did, which again was yet another obstacle for Chris and his parents, Chris was becoming discontent with his mother and father; Walt and Billie McCandless. Who knew that things would end up so tragic for the young man we call Alex and his family.

When Christopher Johnson McCandless made up his mind to do something he did it. Chris didn’t see things as most people do. He was discontent with being held down to the confinements of society’s ideals. Chris didn’t like our government, politics, or the idea of nice things such as fancy new cars, luxury vacations, or upscale homes. Chris doesn’t even desire much of anything with a monetary value on it. Chris McCandless was a simple young man with a burning desire to live a simplistic nomadic lifestyle and see the United States. His ultimate goal was to reach the great north, the Alaskan wilderness.
Along Alex’s journey, he befriends only a few people. Chris works a few odd jobs here and there to make some money, but when he gets his “itchy feet” once again Alex, is on the move and once again the road is his home. Chris doesn’t want to get attached to anyone, he desires his freedom and his privacy. He has his reasons and makes decisions to keep his new family at arms length as to not lose sight of his goal, the Alaskan bush.

Christopher J. McCandless did a phenomenal job at discovering himself and his new identity and seeing all the beauty that nature has to offer. Alas, his only mistake was underestimating Alaska and the harshness that comes with the cruelty and unpredictability of nature and all her fury. Rivers run high and currents are immense. Traveling without a map, a compass, or proper clothing are not considered wise either. Most all Alaskan’s fault Chris and believed he got what he deserved. “By design McCandless came into the country with insufficient provisions, and he lacked certain pieces of equipment deemed essential by many Alaskan’s: a large caliber rifle, map and compass, and an ax” (Krakauer, p. 180). Chris undoubtedly should have planned out his Alaskan travels more prepared. More food, warmer clothes and boots would have been a great help as well as the items already mentioned. If Chris would have at least have had a map, he would have known that Healy was just a few miles to the east of his makeshift camp and this would have indeed saved his life. Unfortunately that’s not the way things worked out. Perhaps Chris wanted to test himself and push himself to the very limits. Some think maybe he went there to die. I for one don’t believe it. Chris wanted to return according to the words in his journal, “Disaster…Rained in. River look impossible. Lonely, scared” (Krakauer, p. 170). This indeed does not sound like a man that wanted to meet his maker. Everyone has an opinion of Chris and what he should or should not have done. The bottom line is this; it was his life to live and no one else’s. Nonetheless to me, Christopher Johnson McCandless was an amazing young man with many talents and a gift to live life to the fullest with the ability to dive into the ocean as most of us just wade in the pond. Alex, as I will refer to him, as that was the name he had chosen for himself, touched me so deeply, that I cannot help but weep with the mere mention of his name. RIP my brother. One day we indeed will meet and I for one can’t wait to hear of your travels and give you a huge hug.

Jon Krakauer (1996) Into the Wild. New York: Villard Books

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