Into the Wild Reaction Paper Dawn MB Nyberg COLS-100 Ever wonder what it would be like to be snow-bound, scared, alone, cold and hungry out in the wilderness of Alaska? Christopher McCandless knew and he knew it well; he knew that feeling so well, that he died. I don’t think he was a man with a mental illness or any personality disorders; even though Jon Krakauer states that,”it’s not clear that much of values is learned by reducing Chris McCandless’s strange spiritual quest to a list of pat psychological disorders. (184) I do, however think Chris lived a life according to his parent’s wishes up until he graduated from Emory University when he decided to become “his own person” and venture out on his own “sabbatical”; completely opposite of his parents wishes. As author Jon Krakauer points out, “Chris spent the previous four years, as he saw it, preparing to fulfill an absurd and onerous duty: to graduate from college.
At long last he was unencumbered, emancipated from the stifling world of his parents and peers, a world of abstraction and security and of material excess, a world in which he felt grievously cut off from the raw throb of existence. ”(22) Chris seemed to be well-liked wherever he went and among whomever he came across in his travels. Even though he made up a fictitious name for himself, I believe that we all can be whomever we choose to be whether we use the name our parents gave us or not.
He never used anyone else’s social security number and when he filled out the W-4 form at Wayne Westerburg’s the second time, he did give his real name, and permanent address as well. (100). Chris seemed to be a young man that needed to run away and find who he really was after being someone who his parents wanted him to be his whole life, unfortunately it came to a tragic end. When thinking about Chris’s life and comparing it to mine, I find that our lives are quite the opposite.
He comes from the family that wanted to basically make sure he got the best of everything, and he didn’t want it, and I came from the family that had nothing and didn’t want to further their education, or couldn’t because of the financial disadvantages. His parents encouraged a college education, and mine never encouraged anything but a high school diploma. He chose to give it all up and I chose to work hard to go to college and get my degree. I care very much about getting a degree even though I have get student loans and Chris’s education was paid for.
He never struggled through school with his brilliant mind as I struggle with having to take medications to keep my mind at even keel. I have always told myself that my life will always be a challenging journey due to the medications that I take and the levels and panels that are tested through blood tests very often when things are “out of wack. ” While reading Into the Wild, I have felt radical involvement in the process of absorbing the story. What has been happening all week is I relive night after night a night-terror of a female ghost trying to terrify me.
There is maybe a trigger that I am not aware of something from the past? The future? The present? All I know is that the night terror has me sleep deprived, and scared at night and during the day. I cry because I don’t understand it; maybe Chris’ McCandless’s life has more meaning to me than I realize. This semester has had some radical changes for me in my lifestyle. Even though our financial status has dropped considerably since I have given up employment to attend college, like Chris, we have not given up on life. Even though he suffered a demise, we will not suffer.
We have similar beliefs, we enjoy “God’s outdoors”, though we would never attempt to go as far as he did to run away from civilization or current lifestyle. We are better educated about what the land provides, and we have more respect for it!. While putting myself with Chris McCandless and knowing that our lives are very different, he struggled with who he wanted to be before so many years until he could finally free himself of the material things he so loathed, unlike him, I need just the necessary material things to survive like a roof over my head, clothes on my back, warmth, food and medications to keep my mind and body alive and well.
I also need companionship and love from another human being. I am not able to live without human contact, as he was. I would literally die of depression. Maybe he died of depression, even though as Jon Krakauer states,”that the final journal entry of Chris McCandless where he penned a final adios “I HAVE HAD A HAPPY LIFE AND THANK THE LORD. GOODBYE AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL! ” (199). I enjoyed reading about Chris McCandless, though I did not care to read so much about Jon Krakauer and what his ventures were.
It was like he was trying to “one-up” Chris, and this book was supposed to be about Chris McCandless, so I thought. I thought Krakauer was Arrogant and self-centered and we “little people” seemed beneath him. I may choose to read another book of his to see if Krakauer puts himself as much in that book too. He did keep me interested and I guess that is what is intended by authors. Chris is another story. It is hard for me to say that I don’t like him having five children of my own and three of them being boys each of them having their own strong personalities.
Matter of fact, I have one that is a free spirit like Chris. The one thing that I didn’t like about Chris was that he didn’t have respect for authority: the law or the wild. He chose his path in having to be difficult from the start, and he put himself above all others who weren’t as intelligent as he was, though when he was on the road he wasn’t like that at all. He lived a life of tramping meeting all kinds of people and giving them all respect.
None of them expected anything from him and maybe that is why he accepted them so freely. I would like to say that I understood Chris and my life resembled that part of his life to a point. I never changed my name, even though there were times I didn’t want to be found. I have always been told that I was a free-spirit and Chris McCandless seemed to want to live his last couple of years just as that. With Christopher McCandless’ free-spiritedness does that mean that he knew that he was going to die in the wild?
I am not so sure he set out to die. He was one of many that went into the wilderness of Alaska unprepared and got snow-bound, scared, cold and hungry and was either never seen again or never came out alive. Even though I didn’t like Krakauer, I am glad that I was able to read about Chris McCandless, his sad story makes life worth living. Works Cited Krakauer, Jon. Into The Wild. Anchor Books A Division of Random House: 1997. Print (22) (184) (100) (199)
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