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The Search For Freedom in Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild

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An obsession can begin with the smallest of events. Ideas, real or fancied, of what one’s life could be like without the ties that bind them, positive or negative, consume the mind and create visions of freedom from the demands of family, government, or even society as a whole. McCandless’s discovery of his parent’s indiscretions was the onset of his obsession; an obsession which grew exponentially over a short period of time that fettered him to the notion that to be truly happy and free, he must rid himself of everyone he had ever known and everything he had ever owned. McCandless became enslaved to his conception of real freedom. His notion of freedom was extreme, to say the least. It involved an elaborate plan to abandon his parents; separate himself from society; erase himself from the governmental grid; to ultimately arrive at the realization that to experience real freedom in happiness it, must be shared. The discovery of McCandless’s parent’s indiscretions set in motion the first step in his plan: freedom from them both.

McCandless’s utter repugnance for his parents caused something to snap within him resulting in his desire to remove them from his life, thus becoming free of their demands, judgments, and inquisitions. Krakauer explains; “Children can be harsh judges when it comes to their parents, disinclined to grant clemency, and this was especially true in Chris’s case" (122). The standards some parents set for their children are often unattainable and often come from a place of their own failures and shortcomings. In McCandless’s case, this is exactly what happened. Walt and Billie had demanded so much of Chris physically, academically, and morally, that when he was made aware of their i...

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... By the time he realized he, in fact, was able to forgive his parents and desired to have a family, it was too late. McCandless had become eternally fettered to his fancied freedom.

Works Cited

Krakauer, Jon. "Chapter 12/Annandale." Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. 122. Print.

Krakauer, Jon. "Author's Note." Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. N. Print.

Krakauer, Jon. "Chapter 1/The Alaska Interior." Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. 3. Print.

Krakauer, Jon. "Chapter 1/The Alaska Interior." Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. 6. Print.

Krakauer, Jon. "Chapter 10/Fairbanks." Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. 101. Print.

Krakauer, Jon. "Chapter 18/The Stampede Trail." Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. 188. Print.

Krakauer, Jon. "Chapter 18/The Stampede Trail." Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. 195. Print.
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