In Jon Krakauer’s book “Into the Wild”, Krakauer describes the travels of Chris McCandless, a young man, who travels alone into the Alaskan wilderness. Krakauer details Chris’s painful demise from starvation was at the age of 24 in an abandoned bus deep in Alaska. According to Krakauer, Chris McCandless left for Alaska because he was seeking refuge from his betrayal by his father. Chris was searching for truth; something he could believe in after he had found out his dad led a double life; one with Chris and his mother and another with another woman and another son. It seems McCandless was looking to test himself; to prove he could survive in the wild without society, but mostly without his father’s help.
So I asked the question, “How does Krakauer’s life parallel Chris McCandlesses?” Chris and Jon’s life have many parallels and contrasts at the same time. Both gave up most of their possessions to go after a dream they had. Ones dream was to live off the land in the remote regions of Alaska, the other too climb the Devils Thumb, a mountain peak that had never been scaled by man. Each man was aware of the risks, but were they equally prepared when each began their own adventure? I feel that Chris McCandless was at a disadvantage when he first started off.
In the novel, Krakauer mentions that Chris McCandless’s changed his name to Alexander Supertramp, in which many of the people that he came in contact with called him. In the novel Krakauer introduces Wayne Westerberg through a letter that Chris McCandless wrote to him “ saying that “ he wants him to know that he is a great man”. Jim Gallien was the second character introduced that McCandless came in contact with. Gallien noticed Alex hitch hiking and gave him a ride to “Denali National Park” and also discovers that Alex is going to Alaska. However, he notices that Alex does not have the necessary equipment to survive and attempts to dissuade him of the dangerous adventure.
Into the wild is a book about a young man, who leaves society to hitchhike to Alaska and live alone in the wilderness. “Christopher Johnson McCandless graduated from Emory University in May 1990 with a degree in history and anthropology”p.20. “toward the end of June, Chris mailed his parents a copy of his final grade report.”p.21. He was a well educated man. He had many opportunities in life to be successful.
McCandless didn’t even write to his mother and father throughout this long trip. He did write to Jan Burres, a friend he met on his journey, saying “Hey guys! This is the last communication you shall receive from me. I now walk out to live amongst the wild.” (Krakauer 69). What they don’t take into account is the events that caused him to leave his family and go into the wild.
The book relates the full story of Christopher Johnson McCandless and how he left his family and friends after graduating college in order to find himself. Krakauer based the book off of his article on McCandless that was printed in January of 1993. From the time of writing the article to the printing of Into the Wild, Krakauer was obsessed with the tale of the boy who rid himself of society and later turned up dead in the Alaskan frontier. In the foreword of Into the Wild, Krakauer describes McCandless as “an extremely intense young man [who] possessed a streak of stubborn idealism that did not mesh readily with modern existence” and who was in deed searching for a “raw, transcendent experience” (i-ii). Krakauer is correct in assessing this conclusion about McCandless.
Partly because of his parents splitting up in 1975 when Kurt was eight years old. Kurt chose to live with his mother. Kurt's father remarried three years later. Kurt got his first guitar for his 14th birthday. He took one guitar lesson and never paid for it.
“To live would be an awfully big adventure” (Hogans, 2003), a quote from Peter Pan, Chris McCandless lived through those words, living a short live he had lived, but he fulfilled his many adventures to his journey of his life. A true story written by Jon Krakauer, tracing back the footsteps of Chris McCandless, an Emory graduate to his death in an abandoned bus in the Alaska wilderness. Even though he knew it was possible that he wouldn’t survive, he looked for adventure because he wanted to look into his inner self and to follow his dream. In chapter one, when McCandless meets Jim Gallien, who was the last person to see him alive and gave him boots and some food. McCandless offered Gallien some loose change and his watch in return for his gratitude.
McCandless sets out for Alaska after he graduates high school and before he begins college. He brings only a few items with him, and eventually purges himself of more belongings. Chris McCandless burned his money, concealed his car, and buried his license and rifle. These actions can lead one to infer that McCandless was self-reliant and believed that he could fend for himself in Alaska. One can connect these deeds to “When I Head the Learn’d Astronomer” by Walk Whitman, on page 446, for a multitude of reasons.
Nobody understands the life and journey to Alaska that Chris took more than Krakauer, and through his words, he acknowledges that Chris made the biggest impact on Ron. Ron viewed Chris almost like a son. Franz admitted that “even when he was sleeping, I was happy just knowing he was there…At one point Franz dared to make a special request of McCandless…Now that my own boy’s dead, I’m the end of the line. When I’m gone, my family will be finished, gone forever. So I asked Alex if I could adopt him, if he would be my grandson” (Krakauer 55).