Into The Wild By John Krakauer: Analysis Of Chris Mccandless’ Personality
In the novel Into The Wild by John Krakauer, published in 1996 the protagonist Chris McCandless (Alexander Supertramp) discovers his own meaning of life, or his sense of truth of the world. Told in the narrative of Krakauer, he addresses the theme by describing the setting of Chris’s life, establishing his main conflict of not having the right supplies, money, food, knowledge for his trip, and incorporating the literary devices, such as irony, to establish Chris’s unique personality, along with characterization, that give details about Chris’s lifestyle and his choices that affect his journey.
Krakauer’s purpose is to give life to a man on an extraordinary journey that led to his unfortunate death and truthfully tell the story of Alexander Supertramp. Krakauer creates a method of sharing Chris’s story by telling all the memories of the people he met on the way to Alaska for the audience of the general public, Krakauer first wrote about Chris as a newspaper article, it began to grow and have so much mail and interest in McCandless he wrote the book. Although Chris McCandless ought to regret his journey due to the pain he caused his family, he did create a meaningful life for himself, because he did the things that made him happy and made his life worth living.
Alexander Supertramp had not spoken to or written to his family his entire journey, he could have took the time during his journey to tell someone where he had gone, Alex did not want his family to stop him but once he had left he could have, he should have told them rather than letting them worry. In the novel Krakauer writes “By the beginning of August 1990, Chris’s parents had heard nothing from their son since they’d received his grades in the mail, so they decided to drive down to atlanta for a visit. When they arrived at his apartment, it was it was empty and a for rent sign was taped to the window.” Alex had a chance to tell not only his parents but his sisters where he had run off to and when to expect him back. It is understanding if he didn’t want anyone to stop him but once he was on his way he could have wrote to them keeping them updated with his journey. One of the passages found amongst Alex’s this was this one from Henry David Thoreau, “I cannot now tell exactly, it was so long ago, under what circumstances I first ascended, only that I shuddered as I went along…, I ascended along a rocky ridge half clad with stinted trees, where wild beasts haunted, till I lost myself quiet in the upper air and clouds, seeing to pass an imaginary line which separates a hill, mere earth heaped up, from a mountain…” in this passage Thoreau in my words is saying that getting lost in the nature of the world is mesmerizing but getting caught up in it is not the point of the journey its coming home to what you love and who you love, who makes you happy. Chris McCandless noted this passage in this journal but didn’t come home, Chris never told anyone where he was and due to this he didn’t get saved from the wild he loved and was amazed of.
Throughout the book Chris never mentions his family or his real name, he wanted to get away from his ties to the outside world. McCandless was ill-prepared and knowing went into the wild to his death, he wanted to get rid of the materialistic things, his name, money, car, all ties were cut with his family which ended in his demise,his point was to survive off the land but didn’t think of the consequences. Krakauer pointed out Alex’s lack of preparation when he wrote, “Alex’s cheap leather hiking boots were neither waterproof nor well insulated. His rifle was only a .22 caliber, a bore too small to rely on if he expected to kill large animals like moose and caribou, which he would have to eat if he hoped to remain very long in the country. He had no ax, no bug dope, no snowshoes, no compass. The only navigational aid in his possession was a tattered state road map he’d scrounged at a gas station.” this section of Into The Wild provides how Alex was so unprepared. Knowing he was this unprepared he should have got more supplies or rethought his trip, rather he did not, he went on knowing he could not possibly survive for 100 days as he wanted. Alex looked up to Thoreau and his words one of the quotes highlighted in Alex’s this was Thoreau’s “rather than love, than money, than fame,give me truth. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, an obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board.
The hospitality was as cold as ice.” Alex was looking for truth in the fullest sense of the word, he went into the wild looking for his truth, we all have our own truth whether it is getting your own life and living your fullest life or having an extraordinary journey with nothing but what you can fit in your pockets. Alex took this vision of his and took it to and extra level of danger and risk which ended up in his death. There are other outlets for these urges of adventure than to go off and disappear. Another passage highlighted amongst Alex’s remains was one of Leo Tolstoy, “I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life.” in this example of Chris’s mindset he wanted danger and excitement rather a quiet life and Alex’s “love” would be the adventure the thrill of no knowing. This not knowing danger of whether my next meal will be a moose or berries was a thrilling experience but, again he could have found another way to express his adventurous side of him. If Alex had returned from his trip he would have wanted to find yet another adventure even more dangerous and extreme way to fulfill his needs and if this experience didn’t lead to his death yet another danger would have and his parents would have been left with this scare of where is he and what had happened to him leading his parents to be left in hurt and pain.
Throughout Chris’s journey even though he did create a terrible feeling for his family he did create a meaningful life for himself by making friends and surviving the 100 days he wanted to in the wild. All Chris wanted to do was create a meaningful life and venture on to another place and test his knowledge. Chris was full of himself and wanted a challenge going into the wild was exactly that. He was left with his own thoughts and had to realize he wasn’t as smart as he thought. Krakauer writes about how excited he was to hear from Jan Bures, one of the wonderful people Chris met on his was to Alaska, “McCandless was thrilled to hear from Jan. ‘I am so glad to find you both alive and sound,’ he exclaimed in a letter dated December 9, 1991.” Alex met many friend and one man Franz who actually wanted to adopt him.
Alex was reckless and crazy for his idea but if he had told one of his family members when to expect him back they could have saved him, Alex was unwise in not expecting id fate but he went into death happy because he has accomplished his goal of surviving in the wild alaskan bush for over 100 days. Jack London had one section of his book The Call Of The Wild Alex had a liking to, it was also found annotated hin his things, London wrote, “The dominant primordial beast was strong in Buck, and under the fierce conditions of trail life it grew and grew.” Alex had written “All hail the dominant primordial beast!” In London’s book The Call Of The Wild the dominant primordial beast was strong in buck and that the essential will to survive was now the major factor in Buck’s life. Alex was in this stage of natural will to survive once he had realized he was dying and couldn’t help himself. He was in this state of survival mode and was stuck in the bus he was awaiting death or for someone to find him or his remains, but, he knew no one would hike the dangerous trail to the abandoned bus in the dead of winter thus the sad truth was he was waiting for death.
Although Chris McCandless ought to regret his journey due to the pain he caused his family, he did create a meaningful life for himself, because he did the things that made him happy and made his life worth living. Throughout reading the book and realizing my own personality and how I would have done things differently Alex was a reckless young man who could have found other ways to express his adventurous side without hurting the people he loved. He could have been prepared and told his family where he was, when he should be back wrote to someone he met even to have them call for help if they hadn’t hear from him, and so many other ways to prevent him from dying alone in the wild. Throughout Alexander, Chris’s life he had made many friends and many people cared for him which created a factor of his meaningful life and truth. Although he hurt his family and caused them so much pain he died happy and that’s all he wanted.
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