Into The Wild - Claudia Lamantea          

Into The Wild Essay


Into the Wild

The true story of a dreamer

Christopher Johnson Mccandless, also known as Alexander Supertramp, was an American traveller dead of starvation at the age of 24 near the Denali National Park in Alaska. He travelled alone for two years in the Usa and North Mexico until reaching Alaska, with few food and equipment (neither a map or a compass), hoping to live for a time of solitude.

His incredible story has inspired a book, written by John Krakauer in 1996 and then a film “”Into the Wild”, directed by Sean Penn and interpreted by Emile Hirsch.

Christopher was born on 12 February 1968 in the South California in a wealthy family, his father Walt was a Nasa employee and his mother Billie was a secretary. He also had a younger sister, carine and six half-siblings in California from Walt’s first marriage. Walt wasn’t yet divorced from his wife when Chris and Carine were born, but Chris discovered this affair in a summer trip in California and it was a real shock for him.

Even if the Mccandless family had financial success Walt and Billie sometimes thought about divorce. Later the family moved to Virginia where Chris got a degree in History and Anthropology at the Emory University with excellent ratings. At school teachers noticed that he had an unusual and intense idealism and a strong morality.

For years he dreamed of an “Alaskan odyssey” where he would live in the wilderness far away from civilization and find himself. So in April 1992 he hitchhiked from North Dakota to Fairbanks in Alaska after donating all his savings to charity and adopting the pseudonym of Alexander Supertramp. He spent the last 112 days of his life in the Alaska woods, completely alone in the Denali National Park, having an old abandoned bus like unique shelter. During his travels he alternated between having jobs and living without money or human contacts. People who met him, remembered Chris as a very intelligent person who loved to read. One of the most touching meeting he had, was with an old man, who gave him hospitality for some weeks. They established a relation so intense that later the old man sold his house, bought a caravan and travelled through the West America, strongly influenced by Chris’ vision of life.

This unbelievable story has caught the attention of many “critics”, most of them contested Chris’ behavior considering him like a reckless and presumptuos boy that believed to survive in the wilderness without adequate planning, experience or preparation.

In my opinion Chris was a deep person who tried to capture the true sense of Life, I was really impressed by his adventure and perfectly agree with his strong idealism and his revolutionary vision of reality, against materialism and selfishness of people. He loved the Beauty, the Truth and the Freedom and tried to live following these values like a religion. He believed that most of people are unhappy but they don’t try to change their life because are conditioned by the conformism and traditionalism. They don’t think about what they really want, but follow the rules imposed by the Society. This condition seems to assure the “peace of the spirit” but one of the most devastating thing for the human soul is a certain future. The true “nucleus” of a person is the passion for the adventure, the joy of living derives from the new experiences, people have to free themselves from the monotony and adopt a lively life style, in which money and appearance aren’t the most important values.

In conclusion I do hope that Chris’ adventure could be an example for people or just an occasion to reconsider the priorities of Life.


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