Into The Wild - James Miller          

Into The Wild Essay

Q:// Was Chris McCandless foolhardy and was he running to something or from something?

Into the Wild Essay:

Before you judge Chris McCandless for his many flaws and foolhardy acts you must look at the entire picture that is his life. Although Chris McCandless was very Naive and headstrong in his attempt to run away from his life, he found that he was truly running towards something beautiful. He was running to what he loved and simply found this easier said than done.

His initial plan to run away seemed quite plausible and was in fact effective. He traveled all over the United States; working in Burger King, partying with hippies, and hitchhiking his way along. He effectively got everywhere he wanted to go on almost nothing. This is were his problem lay. In getting to his ultimate destination, Alaska, he was essentially set with a bag of rice, water, and a gun. Getting out, however, as he would soon realize at the fateful river crossing, posed a huge issue. He found his utter disregard for prior knowledge of his surroundings was his downfall. Had he known the river would swell immensely due to runoff or there was a gauging station just down the river, he might have survived. In this lies sorrow without a doubt but also hints beauty.

He was in a very difficult position at home with his family. As is slowly revealed through his story, his life at home since childhood is riddled with discord, violence, and inadequacy. The volatile relationship between his parents coupled with his great disconnect from his father provides for a very uneasy life for his sister and him. His personality did not seem to mesh with the atmosphere of home life. He did not feel welcome and possibly did not even wish to feel that. After uncovering the fact that his sister and him were the product of a love struck affair he felt like a bastardized child and his disdain for his family and eventually people in general culminated in his great escape.

Once on the road he had many experiences that somewhat morph his worldview. He inadvertently has many exchanges of philosophic thought with people such as Mr. Franz that enlighten both parties. He sees Mr. Franz as a fatherly figure as Mr. Franz does him, a son. This I believe begins to erode his harsh view of his father. He begins to realize that he is really on a quest of self-determination. He is living his dream and looking for happiness rather than pushing his father away or punishing him. He has a spectacular experience living off the land, showering in the mountains, and meeting new friends. This leads to a serious moment of reckoning in the middle of the Alaskan outback. As the moment of death is impending he has an epiphany. He realizes that happiness, what he sought from the beginning, is only real when shared. He realizes what he was running from was himself, Christopher Johnson McCandless. His qualms about people, society, religion, etc. slowly melt away as he jots down final words of joy. Alexander Supertramp dies as he etches "God Bless All' but Christopher Johnson McCandless lives on, in peace, in the hearts and minds of his friends, loved ones, followers... Family.

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