Into The Wild - Jennifer Little        

Into The Wild Essay

Courageous? Arrogance? Why Not Both?

John Krakauer is the author of Into the Wild which is about the story of Chris McCandless and his life. Many people admired him for being fearless, while others think his rather arrogant for what he did. I think he was a mixture of both. Throughout Chris’s story he met and inspired so many people from all over the country; just as he is doing now through Krakauer’s story.

Anyone who knew Chris or Alex, even the people that did not know him for long was touched by him and he changed their lives. The quote that I found from Into the Wild is “Westerburg says ‘and she wasn’t real enthusiastic about meeting Alex, either. But I kept bugging her, telling her ‘You gotta meet this kid,’ so she finally had him over for supper. They hit it off immediately. The two of ‘em talked nonstop for five hours.” This shows how easy he was to get along with, even with people he had just met. But this trait does not help anyone when they are out in the woods of Alaska alone with inadequate supplies, and that is exactly what happened with McCandless.

Another trait that McCandless possessed and that everyone saw was he was a dedicated worker. Someone from Into the Wild said “Didn’t matter what it was, he’d do it: hard physical labor, mucking rotten grain and dead rats out of the bottom of the hole- jobs where you’d get so dirty you couldn’t even tell what you looked like at the end of the day.” This shows his fearlessness; no job was too big, too dirty, too smelly, or too heavy. In a job, the supplies you need to get task at hand done are available at the job site. While working on the farm, Chris was given the pitch fork and other tools needed to muck stalls, but being out in the woods of Alaska the tools are not provided for you. When getting a new job you ask questions on what you have to wear, what kind of work is done, and maybe even the pay. There was no survivor’s manual for the Alaskan wilderness and Chris didn’t do any research on what is needed to survive out there. McCandless didn’t think about all the supplies he needed for his trip into the Alaskan wilderness and because of that he was unprepared.

Even with the combination of these traits, he wouldn’t keep a job. He could have easily acquired and kept a career but instead he impulsively quit to go on his next adventure. He would always succeed in his jobs, even getting promotions, but that wasn’t enough for him. He would get enough money for what he needed to fund his travel, then leave. His impulsiveness began in Atlanta when, Chris burnt his money and license plate, dumped his car and rifle. When being dropped off in Alaska he carried a back pack and in it was a book of Tolstoy, a book about native plants and berries, a rifle with 400 rounds of ammunition, a writing implement, a journal, a camera, a large bag of rice, a small cooking utensil, matches, a knife, and some fishing twine and a hook. He ended up leaving his map on the dashboard of the car he was getting a ride from. He was unprepared for his trip and if he wasn’t arrogant and thought everything would be fine then he probably could have lived longer, or even lived to tell his own story.




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