Forgiveness in Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

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As strong, independent, self-driven individuals, it is not surprising that Chris McCandless and Lily Owens constantly clashed with their parents. In Jon Krakauer’s novel, Into the Wild, Chris was a twenty-four-year-old man that decided to escape the materialistic world of his time for a life based on the simplistic beauty of nature. He graduated at the top of his class at Emory University and grew up in affluent Annandale, Virginia, during the early 1980’s. In The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, Lily was a fourteen-year-old girl who grew up in the 1960’s, a time when racial equality was a struggle. She had an intense desire to learn about her deceased mother. Her nanny, Rosaleen, with whom she grew very close over the years, raised Lily with little help from her abusive father. When her father failed to help Rosaleen after three white men hospitalized her, Lily was hysterical. Later, Lily decided to break Rosaleen out of the hospital and leave town for good. While there are differences between Chris McCandless and Lily Owens, they share striking similarities. Chris McCandless’ and Lily Owens’s inconsistencies of forgiveness with their parents resulted in damaged relationships and an escape into the unknown.

For someone who is very compassionate and always looking to help those less fortunate, Chris is, ironically, unable to forgive his parents’ mistakes. Krakauer reflects on Chris’s inability to forgive his father. “The boy could not pardon the mistakes his father had made as a young man…” (Krakauer 123). Forgiveness is important in Chris’ story because the resentment he has for his parents expands to other aspects of his life, and he begins to isolate himself. His isolation continues through college and ultimately leads...

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...heir parents resulted in damaged relationships and escapes into the unknown. Chris was intelligent and well rounded, but he had several flaws, specifically his inability to make peace with his parents. He could not dismiss the mistakes his parents had made and hurt not only himself but also his entire family in the process. Lily was young, but mature beyond her age. She made impulsive decisions, such as running away with her nanny, but it did not ruin the flawed relationship with her father. Instead, it led to the truth she so desperately needed and a better relationship with her father. Lily’s leaving was the best thing she could have done for herself. Both Chris and Lily left with similar intentions but saw different results. Chris reached the realization that isolationism is not the best policy, and Lily was brought into a world filled with love and truth.
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