Imagine yourself entirely isolated with a vast expanse of pine trees as your backyard, living out of a run-down bus in the frigid weather of the Alaskan wilderness living completely off of the land. How long do you think you would last? The novel, Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, explores the exciting life of a determined young man who explores his passion for nature and his belief that pure happiness can only be achieved when one resides in nature and lives a simple lifestyle free from the confines of society. Many wonder how a young, successful, and educated man expected to attend law school at Harvard ends up starving to death in the Alaskan wilderness. Krakauer recounts his personal experiences in nature when he stared death directly in the eye and had to make similar decisions as Chris McCandless. He explains that "I now recognize that I suffered from hubris, and an appalling innocence, certainly; but I wasn't suicidal," (116). McCandless did not wander into the Alaskan wilderness to die, but to seek pure happiness and discover the beauty of life that he had craved from his favorite stories written by Leo Tolstoy, Jack London, and Henry David Thoreau. His stubborn and audacious attitude, along with his inability to make crucial decisions, led him down his terminal path.
Chris McCandless was greatly influenced by many popular authors such as Leo Tolstoy, Jack London, and David Thoreau. Chris, a transcendentalist like many of his favorite authors, felt like he had to abandon his reliance on material possessions in order to reach freedom and purity. Chris took their enlightening stories and views of the world and society very seriously and, " . .. was so enthralled by these tales, however, that he seemed to forget they were works of fiction," (44). The influence that these authors he admired so much had on the way he viewed society may not have been the direct cause of his death, but had a substantial part in his demise.
He was especially drawn towards Jack London whose "fervent condemnation of capitalist society, his glorification of the primordial world, his championing of the great unwashed--all of it mirrored McCandless's passions,"(44). McCandless grew up in a wealthy family with access to many opportunities and very nice material possessions, but ashamed by his affluence he became upset and contrite when his parents offered to buy him a new car for graduation.
Rebellious in nature, McCandless took the words of David Thoreau very seriously and felt it his "moral responsibility to flout the laws of the state," (28). Unlike Thoreau this stubborn attitude and craving to leave society behind along with his responsibilities and troubles allured him into burning all of his money, creating the new name "Alex Supertramp," and pursuing his dream excursion into the captivating wilderness of Alaska. This foolishness and recklessness contributed to him being ill prepared embarking into Alaska during the wrong season, refusing to take a map,...