Into The Wild - Malaysia Douglas          

Into The Wild Essay

Malaysia Douglas
World Literature IV
Summer Essay

Into the Wild

Alex, or Chris; two names, one person, lots of meaning. If you asked ten different people to describe him to you, you would probably get ten of the same answers. Two things you would hear is that he always smiled and made an impression on you. He was a curious, respectful young man with big dreams; one who loved the outdoors and loved to learn. His big dreams costed him his life. His dream was to live off the lands of Alaska with no money and few gear. Some readers admired the boy immensely for his courage and noble ideals; others fulminated that he was a reckless idiot, a wacko, a narcissist who perished out of arrogance and stupidity- and was undeserving of the considerable media attention he received.” (Krakauer, Author’s Note)

"Every person has a unique mind; every person has the capacity to share different views." (Jessica Robins) Alex did have a unique mind. One that thought differently than others. Instead of going and making himself successful with his college degree, he went to live off the open lands of nature. He donated the rest of his money to a charity and left his family with no trace of him. I think this was Alex's way of telling society that it can't run him or his life, that he was his own person and did what he wanted. Leaving his family without saying goodbye in my opinion, was very wrong of him to do. He should've put aside their differences and let them know but he didn't. It's mind-boggling how Chris could forgive authors whom he's never met for things they've done, but couldnt find it in his heart to forgive his own father. I feel like Chris was being selfish when he took off without saying goodbye. I understand he wanted to do what he pleased, but he could've at least told them where he was going; he was very inconsiderate. Because he was angry with his father, he took it out on the rest of his family and friends. He made them suffer not knowing if he was alive, fed, or clothed for years. While Chris was away he had no contact with anyone, (before he met the few people that he did, and sent them postcards from time to time). Going to Alaska was Chris' way of being free, being himself. It was a way for him to clear his mind from all the judgement and sterotypes of society. He finally could do something he wanted, he was his own person and finally felt like it. Chris and John Waterman (character in novel) were similar because they both left their family with no trace of them and their choice of leaving were both because of their fathers. Waterman's father was absent in his life and Chris' father was trying to control his too much.

I commend Chris for exceeding the average expectations of society because not everyone has the ability or the guts to do that. For example, if I loved the color green and my mother allowed me to, I would want to dye my hair green; but I wouldn't. Why? Because of society. People would constantly make fun of me and ask why I did that to myself. They would say its wrong for a teenage girl to have green hair. Having your hair a certain color or dressing a particular way is way to express yourself. Why should we be judged by how we express ourself? We're always told to do so, but when we do it, we're "wrong." How is being yourself wrong? You never win with society. You're always going to be too fat, short, skinny, dark, pale, etc. You shouldn't care what people think of you, but you should to a certain extent. Alex didn't care what people had to say about his trip, that's why he did it without telling most people. He didn't care to hear what they had to say; he did his own thing. He did what made him happy, and that's why I look up to him.
While reading Jessica Robbins essay, I learned that the novel didn't provide the correct information about what Chris was carrying. He did in fact have identification on him and $300. I'm confused on why that information was left out. To make us think Chris was stupid? Maybe the author was against Chris and his dreams and was trying to make us view Chris how he did. Chris was the type of person who was always looking for a challenge. In the novel he says, "my days were more exciting when I was penniless and had to forge for my next meal." He loved to push himself. He was independent. He didn't need anyone to come along with him on his odyssey and didn't want handouts from anyone. Everytime someone offered him gear he would turn it down and they would have to pressure him into taking it. The only thing he accepted without hesitation is food. Since Chris made sure that everything he gained was through his own efforts and the success of his abilities, he maintained true self-reliance throughout his Alaskan odyssey. (Rebecca LaMarche)
Why is it that critics have so much to say about Chris' mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, that's life. When I asked him what he liked about the story, he said to me, after a short pause, “He made mistakes. I have too.” (Dave Korn) As I continued to read Dave Korns essay it said, "While many of their own close calls have ended up as nothing more than good stories." If McCandless lived through his odyssey and told his story, many people would commend him for his brave accusations. Well, he tried, isn't that any good? At the end of the novel, although McCandless was sick in the pictures he took, you couldn't tell from the smile on his face. "He is smiling in the picture, and there is no mistaking the look in his eyes. Chris McCandless was at peace, sere as a monk gone to God." (199) He was finally at peace with himself. He was satisfied with his life because he had achieved his dreams. I too, one day, want to be like the great Chris McCandless.

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