Into The Wild - Lindsey Penn

Into The Wild Essay

My name is Lindsey Penn. I live in Connecticut, USA. I read Into the Wild and was inspired by Chris McCandless' journey.

There aren't many people who are brave enough to travel across a continent on a journey to find oneself without money or any contact with family. It takes someone special to be able to complete a feat such as that, and at the same time, become famous for something that should be a normal activity or dream: going on a trip and getting to know yourself. Chris McCandless was one of those people who was able to complete his journey to become self-reliant and enlightened. He fulfilled his dream, even though he wasn't able to come back home and personally share everything he learned on his trip with his family. McCandless was looking for independence and an enlightened outlook on life, which he found before he died. In following his dream with such dedication that he cut off communication with his family and let go of the money he had, he created a path that others would follow and showed everyone that finding self-reliance on a cross country journey is not only possible, but worth it in every way. The new outlook on life makes every hardship worth the struggle. He forged a path that others, such as Dave Korn, could follow and understand the reasoning behind McCandless' decisions. Dave Korn travelled to the bus where McCandless died, getting to know McCandless (in a more spiritual sense) and himself. Korn followed the path that McCandless made and experienced similar, if not the same, enlightenment.

Before I read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, I never would have thought a cross country trip without money or communication was possible, which might have been naive of me. Now that I know that it is very possible to complete a journey such as the one McCandless went on, it is easy for me to understand why people would take on that task of travelling on foot to discover themselves. I disagree with the critics who believe that Chris McCandless didn't show the world anything new except how stupid and unprepared he was. Instead, I agree with Jessica Robbins, who said that our world needs people who have discovered their passion and had the ability to go after it, because without those people, there wouldn't have been new discoveries that change lives all over the world. Chris McCandless showed everyone that even dying can't take away from the lessons learned while on a journey to discover the meaning of life. That was his lesson to all of us, even if it wasn't his intention to teach it.

McCandless' lesson is one that should be followed. In today's world, there are so many ideas of how you should express yourself. Instead of conforming to those ideas, we could follow Chris' example and go on a journey to find and get to know ourselves. In Rebecca LaMarche's essay, she referenced Emerson and how Chris McCandless was an example of some of those ideas that Emerson said everyone should follow. McCandless wanted to be his own person, which he definitely succeeded in doing. He knew that he had to get rid of any outside influence if he wanted to truly be himself, which meant isolating himself from his family. While I'm not a fan of cutting off all ties with family, I do have to admire his commitment to his journey. In the end, all of the difficulties he faced were made worthwhile when he reached the self-reliance that Emerson praised, and McCandless is probably one of the few in today's society that was able to experience that enlightenment. That enlightenment is something everyone should look for. Chris McCandless is the example that shows how great it feels to discover yourself and be self-reliant. With knowledge of how that enlightenment felt, it makes sense that people would want to follow in McCandless' footsteps and search for that experience. In today's world, that journey would help people get away from the troubles of society. While the journey isn't easy, it's still worth embarking on a trip to discover oneself.

Chris McCandless is an inspiration for everyone. Rest in peace.

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