Into The Wild - Connie Alvarado

Into The Wild Essay

Connie Alvarado
Honors World Literature IV
Into the Wild: Journey into the Uncharted Spirit
While reading Into the Wild, Chris McCandless seemed to me to be a bit arrogant. I was feeling a bit like those Alaskans who were McCandless's, for lack of a better word, "haters." Yet by the end I have to admit I warmed up to McCandless. Chris's gift of being able to connect with those he encounters (or those who encounter him) is so powerful that it works even beyond the grave. His story had pulled at my heartstrings.
Yeah, sure I haven't been into the "wilds" of Alaska and I'm not quite able to wrap my head around why McCandless had thought of Alaska out of all places. Nevertheless I could relate to his spirit; His spirit of adventure and living for himself. He sought and pursued happiness and fulfillment. Is that not something we all seek? Unfortunately, Most of us shed the spirit of adventure and clothe ourselves with a spirit of conformity. Since we were children, we were molded to do exactly as everyone else should do; That we should walk in the same path others have trailed long before us. We owe this to our parents, teachers, and other adults. We are instructed to think that going through school, college, and work is a necessity and guarantees our survival. Thus we blindly submit to it because of the idea that we can do whatever we want. However, we often forget that this comes with a clause. We can do whatever we want... as long as we do it a certain way.

I did not see the act of Chris McCandless odyssey as a heroic one. That's not what I see as heroic. Not at all. To be frank, I think it was quite reckless and stupid and that he simply got really lucky along the way. What I do see as heroic was his will to live the way he wished to live (which is something most clothed in conformity would only think of doing). I commend him for not letting anyone else contaminate the vision he had set for himself, no matter how kind or caring they were towards him. Rebecca LaMarche was right when she said McCandless "could not allow himself to conform."

I was fond of McCandless’s annotations... Especially those in Henry David Thoreau's Walden. I could relate to the excitement that caused him to scribble in the margins. We both were excited because we were understanding the fundamentals of life that we somehow already knew and because someone was putting it in words! Thats when I knew that McCandless and I shared the same kind of spirit.
Our spirit is one that loves life and intensely desires to experience it in the best way; our way.
Our spirit is nomadic . This explains why McCandless could easily detach himself from people who love him in order to pursue his vision and how I could spend weeks on my adventures without contacting my mother or anyone for that matter.
Our spirit is adventurous; seeking to move onto the next thing as soon as we can (and sometimes sooner).
Our spirit indulges in isolation. Jessica Robbins explained it as having no desire that "any relationship with any person" would "get in the way" of finding, what she describes as, "true self" and I describe as a "spiritual encounter." LaMarche would rightly credit this ideal to Emerson.
McCandless and I enjoy solitude, but do not mind sharing time with others. In fact, we enjoy company though we seek isolation. Dave Korn in his five part essay mentioned something that shows to what extent McCandless's spirit could be without civilization; McCandless followed the trail instead of trailblazing his own path.

In truth, no matter how adventurous our spirits may be, they have been tamed. Eventually both our spirit will walk the trail someone has set beforehand instead of trekking the unknown path our entire lives. We both have allowed our spirits to be stubborn. Unlike the the other spirits who had no problem submitting to conformity, our spirit will resist submission and thus prolong the coming of our realization that man, as he is now, cannot live off the wilderness. Likewise, our spirit cannot thrive off of only adventure. It cannot live solely for itself. It must also live with others and for others. Then we are able to allow what we have known for quite some time to seep into our being after much resistance... the explanation to why, even while living out his adventure and visions, he still sent mail and postcards to those who cared about him... Happiness is only real when shared.

Chris had gone to the logical extreme his adventurous spirit led him to. He lived the majority of his life pleasing the part of his spirit that was tamed which then led him to live his final years to please the other part of his spirit that had been oppressed by his father and mother.


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