John own. Chris’ ambition included the wilderness

John Krakauer’s book, Into the Wild, had much more success than he thought. His book consists of Chris McCandless, a twenty-four year old who was found dead in the wilderness of Alaska in 1992. Following Chris’ every move, Krakauer unveiled a much more to his life story. He connected with his family and all the people he met along the way to acquire Chris’ personality, learning that the people had admired him. He grew up in an upper-middle class environment where neither the people he met on his journey or the readers of his novel knew why he would leave his family behind with no warning. He had a good life ahead of him but we ultimately find out his upbringing and environment lead to him running away from those two things. When running away from something, it results in running toward something else. I think Chris was doing a bit of both. Along with his personal problems, he was running towards his ultimate freedom from the world he disliked. When Chris ran away he successfully ran away from social and materialistic values while running toward his new found freedom. The father-son relationship and the flaws within it, is an important reason for why Chris left his family behind. Christopher’s relationship with his father is very sour. Chris doesn’t agree with his father’s principles in life and argues about them leading to more hatred between the two. McCandless is highly determined and has an aggressive father. The problem arises in that his father’s ambitions are very different from his own. Chris’ ambition included the wilderness and anti-materialism which caused terrible misunderstandings between father and son. For McCandless the combination of trying to please his father, loathing authority, and discovering his father’s imperfections leads Chris running away from his family. Their fraudulent marriage and our father’s denial of his other son was, for Chris, a murder of every day’s truth. He felt his whole life turn, like a river suddenly reversing the direction of its flow, suddenly running uphill. These revelations struck at the core of Chris’ sense of identity. They made his entire childhood seem like fiction.(103)When Chris found out about his father’s relations with his previous wife, this fact ultimately gave the final push for Chris to leave his house. The new information he had acquired made Chris look at his family and upbringing in a whole new light. I believe Chris was running away from the family he thought he knew and toward a more peaceful way of living.Christopher McCandless grew up in an upper-middle class suburban area. He dismisses what he sees as American materialism. Throughout the novel Chris does many things to prove his hatred for materialism. McCandless was against the value of objects like money and wealth. He decided to donate $24,000 to charity which is a lot for someone who got out of college. In the desert Chris burns the rest money that he left his house with because he had decided there is no need for it anymore. Growing up in the upper-middle class he saw the negative effects of money had on people in society and vowed never to be like them. Chris was running away from a way of living and a type of behavior his parents raised him in. He realized that without all the materialistic items he could live a peaceful life.  He did not believe that any of the money or the gifts mattered to be truly happy. He disliked when people tried handing him gifts because it seemed like people needed physical objects to make them happy. Krakauer suggests “McCandless was an extremely intense young man and possessed a streak of stubborn idealism that did not mesh readily with modern existence”(173). An example of his hatred of materialism is when is his parents bought him a new car when he already had one. On his journey he actually abandons his car in the desert and still makes it to his destination in perfectly good time and condition.   Although Chris was running away from his family, it lead to him running toward something else, his freedom. In Chris’ journal he mentions, “Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou shalt not return”(163). I believe this quote represents McCandless well because it would free him from other people’s authority over him and his life choices. The wilderness is very important to Chris. The wilderness is his own realm where he can live by his own rules and do what he would like when he wants to. Nothing from the modern world can tell him what to do and what not to do. At this level of freedom it requires complete isolation from anybody. Chris has to go into the wild by himself.  For example, McCandless refuses to obtain a hunting license because he doesn’t believe that the government and others need to know what his diet plan is. All of the things Chris is running away from eventually leads him to come to his ultimate freedom. Chris realizes his crave for exemption from society and all the father and son fights and materialistic views lead him to run toward a better life for himself. Throughout the novel, Into the Wild,  Krakauer slowly reveals to the readers why Chris ran away from his family and extravagant lifestyle. Chris’ disagreements with his father was a big reason to believe that he left his family. Everything that his father told him felt like non-fiction. He was also running away from the lifestyle he was brought up in. McCandless believed that all the things his parents told him lead to a corrupt society and not true happiness. Lastly, in order to run away from something or someone it must mean to run toward something else. Therefore, I believe all the things Chris was running away from lead him to run toward gaining his ultimate freedom from, as Chris saw it, the evil modern society.


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