Into The Wild - Quinten Yonkers          

Into The Wild Essay

Quinten Yonkers
Mr. Epifanio
Honors World Literature 4
August 28th, 2014

People live their entire lives not knowing what to do with themselves. They play things safe; they can’t face anything different or new or strange, for fear that even the smallest things would lead to incredible tribulation. Why are we given a life to live if we can’t find the joy and serendipity in living that life? Or better yet, why must so many students and scholars and consummate dignitaries impress upon finding an answer to the meaning of life, all while hiding behind their books or their research or their facts? It seems pointless to live life in a constant tedium when literally just outside the door, there is adventure, amazement, and wonder waiting for you, yet your door is stuck shut and you are unable, or unwilling even, to break it down.

Christopher McCandless threw his door wide open, almost completely calloused towards any affect his newfound contingencies would have on anyone but himself. In my opinion, he was determined to do what would complete him; what would make him realize what his meaning of life was. In consonance with Jessica Robbins, it seemed that McCandless’ definition of happiness, or completeness, was short, even basic. While others require money or fame or even good health to live a content life full of happiness, and to answer their rendition of the question of the meaning of life, McCandless literally required a complete change of life. And while this seems so incredibly far from a “basic” definition of the meaning of life, it’s not. Others spend years, decades, even entire lifetimes before they can surmount their obstacles of not knowing how to fulfill their question to the meaning of life, McCandless simply, quickly, and quite frankly effortlessly gave up his whole life – literally everything he ever had, knew, or was, including his own name, and basically his entire identity – to fulfill what he knew was his meaning of life.

In order for one to feel like he or she accomplished something with their life, it is almost a given that one cannot be analogous to the rest of the world. One cannot allow themselves to conform to the “normality” of society. As Rebecca LaMarche had stated, McCandless couldn’t allow himself to fall into the conventional life of, in his eyes, a normal college graduate: expected to get a normal job, move to a normal town, and just live a normal life. One thing that was extremely evident was that it was not idiosyncratic of McCandless to create a new life for himself. From the way Carine McCandless describes her father and his “gin induced rages”, it seems that there was another, maybe not as prevalent of a reason of why Chris McCandless would have wanted to step out of his expectations of leading what others call a normal life.

We all want to make sure our lives are full, but rarely anything is done to ensure that they are. There is no set “meaning of life”. There is only one’s own way of living. However, everyone’s meaning of life includes the denotation of making their life have meaning.


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