Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild, and Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man

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Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild, and Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man all tell the stories of a real-life character that makes the decision to venture out into the wilderness on his own. On one hand, Chris McCandless (Into The Wild), Timothy Treadwell (Grizzly Man), and Thoreau are similar in several ways. All three men record some kind of documentation about their journey; McCandless and Thoreau keep journals while Treadwell keeps a video log. Also, all three forced themselves to really live off the land using only the bare minimum of essentials. On the other hand, the men had several differences. In two of the stories, Into The Wild and Grizzly Man, the main character perishes as a result of his choice to live this way, while in Walden, Thoreau survives all the way through his experience. However, the most prominent differences between the characters were their reasons for venturing into the wild in the first place. Henry David Thoreau went into the woods “because [he] wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if [he] could learn what it had to teach, and not, when [he] came to die, discover that [he] had not lived” (Thoreau, Chapter II). His goal was to live his life simply yet richly in the wilderness. Chris McCandless went into the woods for a similar yet different reason. McCandless was opposed to living life the traditional way. He went into the wild to escape society and the traditional way of life. He wanted to prove to himself that he could survive out in the wild away from everything and everyone else. Finally, Timothy Treadwell makes his journey into the Alaskan wild for what he says is the protection of the bear population. His goal is to protect the bears fr...

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... taking extreme measures. Henry David Thoreau, Chris McCandless, and Timothy Treadwell were three men who made the decision to go into the wild because they were unsatisfied with their current way of life. This was a huge risk and two of the men paid the ultimate price with their lives. There were better options for all three that did not involve putting their lives in danger. Not everybody has to go into the wild for months at a time to go over-the-top. It is unnecessary to do anything but what most people in the world do on a daily basis because that is what has kept society progressing for centuries. Professional athletes and Presidents of the United States have all followed the same formula for success and ended up at their destination just fine. The traditional way of living is tried and true, and there is nothing that people cannot accomplish by following it.
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