Into The Wild - Dan Olivares          

Into The Wild Essay


Feeling invincible isn't uncommon for any 24 year-old, but in the case of Chris McCandless, he convinced himself that he knew he was immortal rather than just believing it. His adventure into the wild was created purely off of his rebellious spirit. Some would argue that his vacation wasn't inspired by his irrational aspirations, but instead by his family. A popular rumor is that he skipped town to get away from the strict prison that he called society. In fact, however, whether he was running to or away from home - he was running. He was trying to escape something, or at least felt overwhelmed by the patterns in his life and craved something fresh. As the author of the book put it, "...he was a young man who wanted to test himself,"

Before making any further accusations, we must first understand where exactly Chris's rebel spirit came from. As it is portrayed in the film, he seemed to be getting bored of the patterns his life was following. Of course, part of our human nature is the want to experience something new and something we know little about; Chris did exactly this. He began reading and looking into Henry David Thoreau, a very well know transcendentalist author of "Civil Disobedience", who believed that every person had an "inner-light" in them that was bound to escape at some point. With this new inspiration came a new way of living. His views on society are a product of the "romanticazation of the wilderness." It was because of this that he started thinking negatively about it all, and ultimately what led him into the wild. In reading such powerful and influential works, he found that, especially in his situation, that this was all very easy to relate to for him. So, why not do give it a shot?

Just like any other bored twenty-some-year-old, he began to daydream. Unfortunately for those who cared for Chris, his imagination got the best of him. He started to believe that nothing could stop him, and the world was his to take. But, while he was busy being distracted, he was unable to rationally think his entire trip to Alaska through. Though, we as humans need imagination to survive it can also hurt us at times. But in Chris's defense, there was absolutely no way he could of predicted his own demise. Sure, he was aware of the potential, but it would take some sort of supernatural ability to accurately foresee your death. He was too concerned with proving a point and not with his survival.

Not only was he intellectually unprepared, but nature, as ironic as it was, may not have been on his side. Back in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, there were varying high and lows, but compared to Fairbanks Alaska it was a walk through the park. The all time high in Atlanta is 106 degrees and the all time low is -9 degrees. That's a total of 115 degrees. Sure, it's a lot, but when looked aside Fairbanks Alaska's all time low of -66 degrees and all time high of 94 degrees, with a total of 166 degrees, comparisons wont be made. Perhaps if Chris had not have been so stubborn about the idea of having money, he would have been able to purchase life-saving supplies for his extreme trip. There's no way he could have overlooked the potential of life threatening weather.

All of this shouldn't go to say Chris wasn't a smart guy, because, of course, he was. This is just a rational and practical look at all of his decisions and mistakes. In no way do I mean any disrespect to the McCandless family or any that may admire him. I myself see a lot of bravery and aspiration in Chris and can even draw inspiration from his actions. Alexander Supertramp will forever be remembered as an iconoclastic man trying to prove a point with extreme action. Whether or not you like him, he is the guy who went into the wild.


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