Essay on Analysis Of Chris Mccandless 's ' The Wilderness '

Essay on Analysis Of Chris Mccandless 's ' The Wilderness '

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Some people, extremely rare as it is, live their lives in a genuine way while showing who they really are. Others build images in their heads of who they want to be and how they want to be depicted. They embody that image, but deep inside it’s not who they really are. There are moments in those people’s lives where their true self comes out, and it ends up contradicting everything they tried so hard to be. Chris McCandless lived towards the latter lifestyle, having an image of himself in his head which wasn’t really who he was. He came off as this anti-societal transcendentalist, but he was actually drawn to societal qualities. He claimed that the reasons he escaped from society and his family was so he could live life unfiltered and so he would be able to be his true self in the wilderness, but instead nature was a way to sustain his depiction, and keep his real self hidden from the world.


An example of Chris’s hypocrisy was the burning of his money before he went out into the wilderness. This was an extremely significant part to the story, and it doesn’t justify his immaterialism like you might think. He could have very well left his money in the street, forest or given it to someone else. The fact that he burnt the money, shows that it meant something to him. People who have riots or uprisings and burn flags for example, would only be burning it because it meant something to them. Chris McCandless wanted to be immaterialistic, but we see that he purposely tried removing the cash from his life by burning it. We further see his materialism come back in a few parts of this story, like when he gets a job or when he takes gifts offered to him by the people he meets on the way to the wilderness.


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...they are both ungenuine in certain ways. Emerson said all these things about being a transcendentalist and living in a certain way, but he didn’t actually live his own life according to how he thought he should be. Just like Emerson, there is a huge contrast between Chris’s ideal image of himself, and who he truly is.


Chris McCandless wanted to live his life in the wilderness, untouched by society and through its filters. He thought that it was where he would thrive, where he would be happiest. But what Chris didn’t know, is that once you’ve been nurtured, you cannot be in nature. You are born into society, raised in it, and once you leave your family to be on your own, society still surrounds you and holds you up. Chris trying to be an image instead of his true self is what led him to the bush in the first place, which ultimately led him to his own death.

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