Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer: Meaningful Intentions and Emotional Yearning

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Once an individual dies, his true intentions and feelings can never be known. People can speculate all they want, but unless they have had similar experiences as the individual, they must refrain all judgments. In the nonfiction work Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, many readers have harshly judged the main character, Chris McCandless, as stupid and thoughtless for his dangerous and ultimately fatal adventure in the raw wilderness of Alaska; many have even said he had been suicidal. The author attempts to display Chris as a human being with meaningful intentions and emotional yearning rather than just a stereotypical, reckless vagabond by using his own story as a similar experience to Chris’, so readers can begin to understand Chris from a more personal level. In the chapter “The Stikine Ice Cap”, Krakauer explains his own conflict with his father, his desire for thrill and the unknown, and his eventual epiphany about the terrible loneliness in isolation from society to showcase an almost identical experience to that of McCandless.

In the chapter “The Stikine Ice Cap”, Krakauer relates himself to Chris in the way that he also has an aristocratic father whose views on life differ from his own. His father is obsessed with perfection and expects him to pursue a profession in either law or medicine, which Krakauer sees as authoritarian and “felt oppressed by the old man’s expectations” (148). Chris also regards his parents in the same way, constantly pushing him to pursue an impressive career to bring him wealth and material success, what Chris abhorrs the most about his family and his society. Having a different belief on life from what his father expects, he thinks his father is “so irrational, so oppressive, disrespectful, and insulting that I finally passed my breaking point” (64). Krakauer emphasizes further that their fathers lead the very lives that he and Chris want to avoid, and they ultimately do by escaping their society. Krakauer rebelliously decides “I...
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