Into The Wild - Iqra Mir

Into The Wild Essay

Iqra Mir
Mr. Epifanio
Honors World Literature IV

Principles over People:
My Thoughts on Christopher McCandless

McCandless’ Alaskan odyssey was an unusual desire after graduating college and finally being able to establish a career. What isn’t unusual is hearing a young adult complain about living up to the expectations of their parents and the rest of society. It’s normal, and I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t relate. We don’t know how his family or others treated him, but it seems he didn’t have it so bad. The only real problem in his life was his father. I haven’t lived McCandless’ life and I didn’t known him, so how could I possibly know what he was going through? I don’t. But I am able to create quite an assumption by the way his life is spoken of in the novel and by critiques. Of course, I do admire his courageousness to set out on a lone journey to find himself. As Jessica Robbins said, “He wanted the rawness of life itself, the beauty of nature surrounding him, independence from what society has told us we “need” to survive.” He chased the dream people wish they had the strength to do.

However, one of McCandless’ primary qualities constantly exhibited was his adherence to principles. He lived his life anti-materialistically –donating his life savings to charity, refusing gifts because somehow they’re “immoral”, and refusing to receive updated innovations such as a new car. That’s completely understandable because everyone’s different, but the way it is expressed can show nothing but disrespect. This isn’t so admirable. McCandless’ selfish preferences have caused a great deal of pain to the people who have raised him. The same people who spent two years attempting to find him. Many believed it wasn’t intentional. Jessica Robbins also stated, “Although I believe he clearly had to have been at odds with his parents to venture out on this journey, he didn’t hate them or want to hurt them.” Such an extreme accusation cannot be made without some evidence that would have justified such an assumption. But, he had left his parents in shock and distraught purposely by an unexpected leave and no return, which is a fact.

There is no problem with going to extremes to be independent and to finally feel as if there are no boundaries. It creates a level of happiness unimaginable. Rebbeca LaMarche writes, “Since Chris made sure that everything he gained was through his own efforts and the success of his abilities, he maintained true self-reliance…”. I romanticize about such an epiphany. But being inconsiderate as he was of others who have always given love and support doesn’t appear to be even his own idea of correct morality.

McCandless was an adventurer. He was a young intellect with a chimera. He strove for a challenge, the chance to survive without the help of a single soul. There are many words to describe his charisma, but I don’t think of him as heroic as people depict. Dave Korn, a writer who was so moved by Chris’ story, went on his own Alaskan odyssey. The way he describes his emotions towards what he encountered and how it was parallel to the events in the novel is astonishing. His obsession is clearly characterized when he notes, “And then I emerge into a clearing, and I’m suddenly faced with the twisting green and yellow hulk of Fairbanks Bus 142. I immediately burst into tears.” I may never understand the deep connection Korn has with such a story, and I may never will. With that being, I feel fortunate in my case that my own relationship with my family simply does not let me see past the pain McCandless has caused his.


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