Into The Wild - Katelyn Gilmore Pt3          

Fairbanks Bus 142

Chris faces this challenge repeatedly on his travels from those with supposed hierarchy; notably when trying to paddle down the Colorado River and gain access to the trains. Upon entering the local police station for help of where to launch out of, he was only met with more obstacles. It was against the law to kayak without a permit accessible through a twelve year wait-list or in accompany of a guide for two thousand dollars. Additionally, regulations and the train worker limited his access to freight trains and ultimately travelling. Money and power are shown to control the simplest task to paddle down a river or get a ride on a train. However, he didn’t allow this to stop him as he believed that “Money is an illusion, power is an illusion. You can do anything, you can go anywhere” (Penn, 2007). Moreover, he claimed “Careers are a 21st century invention and I don’t want one” (Penn, 2007). Since jobs typically come with justification to control (i.e. politicians, teachers, policeman, CEOs, etc.) it comes to no surprise in modern society that exploration can by limited so easily by those enforcing. Although chased by the river patrol and beaten by the train worker, he made it all the way to Mexico from the Colorado River via kayaking, and gained access to nearby cities from using trains.

Chris’ persistence is what undoubtedly granted the possibility for great adventure. If he allowed authority to dictate his life, his goals would never have been achieved. He longed to break away from those who feel entitled to pass judgement and limit personal gain of those beneath the unwritten pyramid of unwarranted success. Alaska was his answer, claiming “Just living out there in the moment… get out of this sick society. Judgement, control, all of that. The whole spectrum. The parents, the hypocrites, the politicians, the pricks” (Penn, 2007). Chris was determined to fulfill his dreams, and did so despite being supressed by dominance along the way. For that, he should be commended.

To proceed, much like the fall of society from excess consumerism revealed in Fight Club, the issue of materialism is addressed in Into The Wild. Chris breaks free from the subliminal priorities of the masses as he realizes its potential for harm. When offered the new car from his parents, he states “I don’t want a new car. I don’t need a new car. What’s with all these things? Things. Things. Things” (Penn, 2007) To deny what most people would love on the grounds that it is undesired and unnecessary is remarkable in itself, more so for someone of Chris’ young age.

His minimalistic approach is revealed continuously as ‘his days were more exciting when penniless.’ He never had a telephone, left majority of his possessions behind, and gave his lifesavings to charity when he began his journey. Any jobs he did have along the way he did simply for the fun of it, burning any small profits often. Ironically, Chris truly didn’t see the value of money; something most people today strive for primarily. When asked why he feels this way, he would respond “I don’t need money, makes people cautious” (Penn, 2007). Perhaps this simple message needs to be revealed on a larger scale to modern civilizations. Nothing is valued most than money in modern society, masking people from superior values such as family, health, and happiness. To summarize Chris’s wisdom,

“Two years he walks the earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom, an extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. The climactic battle to kill the false being within victoriously concludes spiritual revolution. No longer poisoned by civilization. He walks alone on land to become lost in the wild” (Penn, 2007).

Katelyn Gilmore Part 1

Katelyn Gilmore Part 2

Katelyn Gilmore Part 3

Katelyn Gilmore Part 4


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