Into The Wild - Katelyn Gilmore Pt1          

Fairbanks Bus 142

Evidence of modern western civilizations’ pressure to abide to social expectations is increasing rapidly, notably with advancements in technology. Messages are now delivered to impressionable nations efficiently, which has aided in the process of brainwashing its citizens in regard to what is valued in life. The masses typically succumb to these cultured ideals of graduating college, getting married, having children, and climbing the corporate ladder until death, leaving nothing but the picturesque white picket-fenced home behind. The protagonists in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club (1996) and the film Into The Wild (2007) demonstrate how and why a noted few choose to pursue personal goals which differ from such norms. Both works reveal that individuality is supressed by restrictive authority and emphasis on materialism in society, which causes some to rebel and escape in pursuit of fulfilling alternative aspirations.

Social expectations are reinforced with dominant influences in society. Parents, teachers, bosses, celebrities, peers, media; all with enough power to convince others what the ‘right’ way to live is. This hierarchy of status is detrimental to personal growth and discovery since humanity is now told what to achieve instead of the assumption that people are capable to decide that for themselves. Compressing individuals to an ideal form based upon the supposed elite’s craftsmanship is restrictive on all grounds and remains a clear theme in Fight Club. Protagonist Tyler Durden feels the pressure to abide, causing him to lose all sense of self, morals, and ultimately reality. However, through his decline, one can see the wisdom behind his message; one can realize the weaknesses in society and choose to overcome it.

“You have a class of young strong men and women, and they want to give their lives to something. Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don’t need. Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just to they can buy what they really don’t need. We don’t have a great war in our generation, or a great depression, but we do have a great war of the spirit. We have a great revolution against the culture. The great depression is our lives. We have a spiritual depression.” (Palahniuk, 149)

This great war of the spirit stems from the culture we live in, influenced by arbitrary enforced guidelines. Tyler feels authoritative dominance directly from society’s views on the importance of superiority. He despises his boss, contaminates the riches’ food, sells lip suctioned fat back to high-class housewives in soap, and releases Project Mayhem across the nation targeted at primary influences such as the banks. Himself, accompanied by his huge mass of followers, attempt to break free from the chains tightly fastened around the impressionable’s necks by those at the top of the pyramid. If not, he’ll fall accustomed to the unwritten rules majority seem to follow. In other words,

“You do the little job you’re trained to do. Pull a lever. Push a button. You don’t understand any of it, and then you just die.” (Palahniuk, 12)
Along with the overwhelming pressure to abide to authority, the aristocratic expectations to consume is self-destructing. As humans, importance on gadgets remains at an all-time high, which ironically feeds into the harmful image of superiority discussed previously. Humanity is given this unjustified perception of power on the basis of materialistic goods – the brand of car you drive, the clothes you wear, the cellphone you talk into, the food you eat, or the neighbourhood you live in. All act as mere titles without any foundation or insight into the actual person standing behind this distorted image.

The freedom of self-expression is disappearing; our outlooks of what is desired are bleeding into one.

Katelyn Gilmore Part 1

Katelyn Gilmore Part 2

Katelyn Gilmore Part 3

Katelyn Gilmore Part 4


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