Into The Wild - Nathan Yocum          

Into The Wild Essay


Into the Wild

I believe Chris McCandless was foolhardy in his decision to go into the wild in Alaska,
and that he was in fact running away from something. Although some may argue that he
was just being a young adult and believing that he was invincible, there is a fine line between
invincibility and pure unpreparedness. By going into the wild with nothing but a little food and
supplies, he took a poetic stance on what every child has attempted to do at least once;
running away from home.

Wilderness has always had the connotation of "fear of the unknown," so why did
McCandless transcend into the unknown, unprepared? A college graduate from Georgia should
have surely known the harsh geographical landscape of Alaska, or at the very little some
survival tips for out in the wilderness. Chris should have known once he crossed that river that
it would expand in the summer months, that should have been common sense. Also, when he
determined an area in which to set up camp, he should also have known the location very well.

McCandless should have explored at least a five mile radius around the campsite to
become more familiar with his geographic surroundings. If he would have known there was a
gauging station due north of his location, the he would not have had to starve. Also, if Chris was
being intelligent, he would have familiarized himself with the nature around him. Due to his
ignorance, he poisoned himself, which would not occur if he came prepared for the worst in nature.

I suppose all of us can relate to McCandless, for we as humans, however smart we think we
may be, will always fall to our unpreparedness in critical situations and our arrogance to our
surrounding environments. While we may have the ability to re-invent our environment, something
we take pride on very often, that ability stifles our perception of unintended consequences of our
actions. Still, McCandless was surely running away from his abusive family, and the very
constructs of society.

But the constructs of society are purposefully placed to safeguard humans from unintended
consequences. It is only when we are complacent enough to step out of those boundaries is when we
can create potentially devastating consequences to mankind. Alas, we are humans, and it is not in our
nature to remain stoic; we must always find ourselves as malleable and mercurial. Such did Christopher
McCandless, who foolhardily declined the protective constructs of society and descended into the wild.


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