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Into the Wild: Christopher McCandless' Escape From the Confines of Society

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The gripping tale of a young man who leaves all that he has and goes to live amidst the natural world, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer showcases the two years Christopher McCandless had spent journeying throughout the United States before his unfortunate death. After graduating from Emory University in 1990, McCandless disconnected with all of his past relations and abandoned the majority of his possessions. McCandless’ decisions either seem extremely unwise or extremely courageous. He had a comfortable life with few worries yet he still chose to toss it all away and venture into unknown territories. What many wonder is why he would do such an irrational thing. Maybe, McCandless’ was simply trying to run away from his perception of reality. Through deserting his family, friends, and material possessions, Christopher McCandless was attempting to escape the unavoidable condition of the world along with the mundane life ahead of him. He was escaping from the impending dreariness of his future and the idea of decisions impacting him and the people around him. Christopher McCandless appeared to believe that by going off into the wild, his life would no longer be surrounded by a shroud of uncertainty and despair.
McCandless ardently disliked the government and found the conditions of the world appalling; his disdain towards the way the world functioned could only be settled if he could run away from it all or so he thought. McCandless’ ideology and passions stemmed from those of the author, Jack London – he fervently condemned capitalist society, glorified the primordial world, and championed the great unwashed (44). Living in a society in which nature was exploited to support consumerism, McCandless realized that he could reject that ...


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... in his attempt to run away from himself, he was unable to truly escape Christopher McCandless. And although he was not truly successful in running away from his identity, McCandless appeared to succeed in running away from society and running away from the predictability of what life would bring. Departing from the heavy burdens he found in his society, his life, and the world was the only way McCandless seemed to truly be happy and he did just that. He let go of his worrying and concern and focused on bettering himself by connecting with nature. Eventually, McCandless realized that happiness is only real when it is shared (189) but without running away from society and the people who cared about him, he would not have stumbled upon that realization.






Works Cited

Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. Anchor Books ed. Villard, NY: Random House, 1997. Print.


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