Into the Wild- Op Ed

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Alyssa Frank
English 102A
Dr. LaFauci
9 December 2010

From “Into the Wild” to “Into Hollywood”

How many times has Hollywood taken a true story and turned it into something different? Hollywood took Chris McCandless’s story and turned it into an overdramatic work of art. Unlike Krakauer’s nonfiction best seller Into the Wild, the movie Into the Wild by Sean Penn overemphasizes ideas or fails to include crucial evidence which twists the viewers understanding of Chris McCandless’s life. The movie overemphasizes Chris’s parents’ relationship and the effect it has on him, creates a love interest for him in “Slab City”, and fails to mention Chris’s knowledge of the wild. Sean Penn’s film skews how people will remember Chris McCandless.

Chris McCandless’s parents may not have had a perfect relationship, nor was their relationship with Chris perfect, but their relationship was not Chris’s only reason for adventuring into the wild. The film “Into the Wild”, compared to Krakauer’s book, overemphasizes Chris’s family relationship and makes Chris’s hatred against his parents the sole reason for Chris’s journey. The majority of the scenes of Chris and his family include his father’s aggression and abuse. The movie starts by showing Chris’s mother dreaming of Chris in her sleep and ends with Chris happily reunited with his family before his death. The film makes Chris’s desire to get away from his parents his only reason for leaving, whereas the book states many more reasons for going such as a need for freedom, wanting to relieve himself from the materiality of society, and to follow in the footsteps of those who he looked up to, such as Henry David Thoreau and Jack London. Some argue that Chris went into the wild to punish his parents for the pain they caused him, but Chris’s journals state that this is not the only reason why Chris decides to escape.

Not only does Sean Penn’s film present Chris as having an abusive family but he also presents Chris as...
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