Selections from Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer Essay

Selections from Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer Essay

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In today’s world, we live in a society where we are subjected to follow rules, which are placed upon us by the society. Many people are faced with the dilemma of whether or not to follow the ideals of other people, or pursue their ideals and go against the prevailing conventions. In “Selections from Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer, the author talks about a man named McCandless who went into the Alaskan wilderness in order to find his true self. His journey was also to escape from the societal norms of society. A person who goes into the wilderness believes that they can live their life with brute simplicity. This gives them little to no time with the complicated problems of modern society. Likewise, in “Waiting for a Jew” by Jonathan Boyarin, the author talks about one’s aspiration to find their identity and purpose in the community. He conveys that religious places, like shul, allow an individual to develop a cross- cultural self. The desires and expectations placed upon us by the society shape our strategies of personal identity; therefore, instilling fears that cause us to identify in opposition to our prevailing conventions.

First, in today’s society, an individual faces many expectations from the society, which results in an individual following these expectations or shaping their identity to go against it. Krakauer talks about McCandless, who escaped from the society in order to find his own-self. He writes, “ Wilderness appealed to those bored or disgusted with man and his works. It not only offered an escape from society but also was an ideal stage for the Romantic individual to exercise the cult that he frequently made of his own soul. The solitude and total freedom of the wilderness created a perfect setting for either ...


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...Boyarin overcome his fear of being labeled by the society by sticking up to his morals and ethics. This shows that an individual’s fear of being labeled by the society can depend on the situations they face which shape their strategies of personal identity.

Furthermore, sometimes the desire to be accepted is stronger than prevailing conventions. This makes an individual to do things to make him feel accepted in the society. Krakauer compares the people in Alaska and McCandless. He writes, “And I’m sure there are plenty of other Alaskans who had a lot in common with McCandless when they first got here, too, including many of his critics. Which maybe why they’re so hard on him. Maybe McCandless reminds them a little too much of their former selves” (Krakauer 221). In today’s society, an individual confirms itself to what a society wants and expect him or her to be.

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