English IV CP, Period 4
10 May, 2015
Humans naturally feel pressured, whether as a kid trying to keep up grades for school, as an adult trying to get a promotion, or even as regular, everyday, humanbeings simply trying to fit the status quo. Although mankind is faced with constant pressure dayin and dayout there is little done to fix these problems. Complaining and whining is not the correct way to solve social pressure, so what is? Chris McCandless asked the very same question. Born, February 12th, 1968, to Walter and Wilhelimina McCandless, Christopher Johnson McCandless was a young man with a bright future. Captain of the crosscountry team in high school and graduating with ease. Chris proceeded to attend Emory University where he would strive again, graduating with a bachelor’s degree, double majoring in history and anthropology. Chris was on the path to achieving what many people depict as the “American Dream”; education, job, settle down with a family, and live out the rest of one’s life in peace. However, Chris had other plans in mind.
Into the Wild,
written by Jon Krakauer, explains, or at least attempts to make sense of, the mindset of protagonist Chris McCandless in his heroic and/or foolish journey to Alaska in April 1992, leaving all but the clothes on his back to go out and live in the wild. The book retraces Alexander Vandertramp, Chris’ alias, including interviews with acquaintances Chris had along the way to Alaska such as Loren Johnson, Chris’ grandfather, and Jim Gallien,
the man who encountered McCandless while hitchhiking to the frozen tundra. The book continues to follow McCandless’ “Alaskan Odyssey” physically with the routes taken, areas visited, and notes written day by day by Chris up until his demise in August of 1992 due to starvation. Though, questions still remain, Why did Chris do this? Did the pressure get to Chris, leading him to crack, or was this a voluntary act? What was Chris trying to accomplish, trying to prove? Was Chris a hero or a fool? The decision is up to the eye of the beholder, however, one must be fully informed before assuming. Chris demonstrated the Aristotical element known as Logos, logical reasoning, by explaining the reasons for his departure into the wild to friend Gallien, I now try and do the same. Chris was a role model by the way he broke the social contract but was crazy at the same time for this action, all in all Chris was mature and intelligent enough to make a decision on his own and live with the consequences. Did Chris think of this idea out of the blue or was there influence in the decision? Chris grew up as an intelligent young boy, reading books such as To Build a Fire, White Fang,
MoonFace, Brown Wolf,
etc, written by Jack London. The book that most captured McCandless’ attention was most likely
The Call to the Wild.
The novel follows a sled dog named
Buck through a journey like no other. Buck is stolen and sent to Alaska where he is sold to work in the harsh weather. Along with the work and climate, Buck has to prove himself by fighting the other dogs in the pack and showing his dominance. At the end of the book, Buck discovers his animal nature and instincts and decides to live in the wild. There are some similarities with Chris and Buck’s stories. For example, they both traveled to Alaska to unleash their natural instincts. Both were respectively happy with their lives before going into the wild. Chris came from a good family and Buck had a happy life until his
owner got killed which was the breaking point for Buck. Using that logic, there must have been a breaking point for Chris, an event that changed Chris’ life forever, but what happened? According to the Child Trauma Academy, “Each year in the United States approximately ...
Cited: Into the Wild.
New York: AnchorDoubleday, 1997.
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