University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Into The Wild: Test
McCandless was brave enough to do things most people would not even think about doing. “He was looking for more adventure and freedom than today’s society gives people,” comments one of Chris’s friends” (Krakauer 174). What modern society offers did not appeal to Chris McCandless; he wanted a different life that most people had themselves. He saw the influences society puts on our lives and decided he did not want to live that way. “No longer would he answer to Chris McCandless; he was now Alexander Supertramp, master of his own destiny” (23). McCandless, now known as Alexander Supertramp, did not want to be held back in any way; to insure he would get full freedom he changed his name so he was able to start fresh. McCandless took charge of his new life and was brave to be able to just leave everything he knew and was comfortable with to start new. Whatever makes you happy you should pursue, McCandless did just that even with all the negative people telling him it was a bad idea. People find happiness in multiple ways; through relationships, nature, religion, and many more ways. In a letter to Franz, Alex writes, “You are wrong if you think joy emanates only or principally from human relationships.
God has placed it all around us” (57). McCandless knew that although it is nice to have relationships you can find happiness in nature and that is where he found true happiness. “He is smiling in the picture, and there is no mistaking the look in his eyes: Chris McCandless was at peace, serene as a monk gone to God” (199). Before McCandless’s death he took a picture and in the picture he was at peace and happy even though he was alone and going through the pain of starvation. He was happy because he finally found true happiness. McCandless found happiness in ways most did not, once he found what made him happy he pursued in no matter what the consequences were. “In the final postcard he sent to Wayne Westerberg, McCandless had written, if this adventure proves fatal and you don’t ever hear from me again I want you to know you’re a great man. I now walk into the wild” (133). He wrote this to acknowledge the chance that he might not survive. He does not want to die but he knows that he is embarking on a dangerous adventure.
McCandless also feels that the whole adventure is worth it, however, for the real experience of living completely independently and freely, and his excitement was expressed at the end of the final postcard to Westerberg. People called McCandless foolish for his mistakes but everyone makes mistakes. “Instead of feeling distraught over this turn of events, moreover, McCandless was exhilarated: He saw the flash flood as an opportunity to shed unnecessary baggage” (29). Although he made a mistake of sleeping in an area where there are flash floods and lost his car, he accepted it and used it as a way to get further into his adventure by just living off what he needed. “Chastity and moral purity were qualities McCandless mulled over long and often” (65). Although Chris made fatal mistakes he knew what was right and wrong and would think about it a lot. McCandless overall had respect and good morals but made fatal mistakes which led to his death. “Awkwardly, stiff with fear, I started working my way back down. The rime gradually thickened.
After descending about eighty feet, I got back on reasonably solid ground. I stopped for a long time to let my nerves settle, then leaned back from my tools and stared up at the face above, searching for a hint of solid ice, for some variation in the underlying rock strata, for anything that would allow passage over the frosted slabs. (137)” That quote really explains what a brave man he is and how he can overcome obstacles that the others like Rosellini, McCunn, and Waterman couldn’t. People who did not think McCandless was courageous thought he was a young foolish man who caused many pain with his leaving and death. Chris did make mistakes but so did others and that does not mean he is foolish. He did not want to cause others pain but he needed to start fresh and away from everyone he knew. “Alex is a nut in my book,” wrote a resident of Healy, the hamlet at the head of the Stampede Trail. “The author describes a man who has given away a small fortune, forsaken a living family, abandoned his car, watch and map and burned the last of his money before traipsing off into the ‘wilderness’ west of Healy”(71). Although McCandless did all of those things, he did it to have a fresh start.
He did not want to be held back from anything and in the end it made him happy. A reader of the Outside magazine asked, “Why would any son cause his parents and family such permanent and perplexing pain?”(71) McCandless did not want to cause his loved ones pain but ended up causing them pain since the only way he could find true happiness was to leave everyone he loved. Although some may not be able to see the reasons McCandless left all his opportunities and loved ones behind to go on an adventure that caused him his death, he only did it because that was what made him happy. Chris McCandless was a young man that went against society and found happiness in things most people would be afraid to try. He had the bravery it took to go against society to find his happiness and although he made mistakes he did what he enjoyed even if people thought he was foolish. People should not judge others for what they do that makes them happy and being brave enough to do something different than what most do.