“Into the Wild”: Development of Christopher McCandless Essay

“Into the Wild”: Development of Christopher McCandless

The life map of Christopher McCandless is represented through the eyes of Jon Krakauer, the author - “Into the Wild”: Development of Christopher McCandless Essay introduction. The story describes Christopher’s gradual development from being fully isolated person who seeks for inner peace into a person who acknowledges the necessity of society and human relations. Christopher is described as bright, intelligent and determined person who decides to push himself to extreme physical limits that challenge human survival. McCandless promotes the idea of solitary existence as the exercise for the body and the soul. Krakauer shows that Christopher abandons everything materialistic and societal. The author helps us to see the universal struggle for harmony and inner peace on the example of Christopher’s life and his death in the wilds of Alaska.

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From the very beginning Christopher fascinates Jon Krakauer for his freedom, new life, nomadic existence and for his ability to abandon his family. Christopher is a traveler, and he is on his last great adventure to Alaska. Christopher is greatly inspired and fascinated by the writings of Jack London, and he sees Alaska as the only way to find inner peace and isolation. Christopher believes he has to calm down his turbulent emotions, to fully forget complex relationships with his father and to find peace within himself. Krakauer writes, “McCandless went into the wilderness not primarily to ponder nature or the world at large but, rather, to explore the inner country of his own soul”. (Krakauer 1997) Christopher thinks human relationships are not important, and he can easily cope without them.

With the story progression the author shows that Christopher starts thinking about human relationships. He has been struggling for several months for solitary existence, but now he softens and admits the necessity of human companionship. He learns that there are situations when people can’t survive alone. Moreover, in the copy of Dr. Zhivago, Christopher discovers that “happiness is only real when shared”. Christopher decides to return to civilization and to break up with isolated lifestyle: “It was time to bring his final and greatest adventure’ to a close and get himself back into the world of men and women, where he could chug a beer, talk philosophy, enthrall strangers with tales of what he’d done”. (Krakauer 1997) It means that, finally, Christopher finds peace with those around him, and he realizes that he does want to be around people and to solve the conflict with his father.

When Christopher’s health begins to fade, he understands death is on horizon, “he crawled into the sleeping bag his mother had sewn for him and slipped into unconsciousness”. (Krakauer 1997)  Interestingly, now Christopher is the closest to the ultimate peace because he has managed to balance his emotions, to realize the importance of human relations and, what is more important, he has managed to find the peace within himself due to those around him.  Christopher learns that solitary existence is not the best way to find peace because there should be anyone who would be always ready to help you out. Christopher learns that people offer intellectual companionship.  Relationships and isolation can be combined, but they can’t be separated. Christopher’s death symbolically represents the needs of a person to be socially involved.

  The life of Christopher teaches us to rely upon others, to seek for help and assistance in difficult situations.  On Chris’ example we are taught that extreme and solitary living is not suitable for humans as they are often driven by natural desire to order, to command, to communicate, etc.  To neglect communication means to ruin your inner world, it is a death sentence for human sanity.  Despite Christopher is drastic and reckless, we realize that he is peaceful as he has managed to accept the need to be around people. Summing up, occasional solitary existence may be incorporated into human lifestyles, but the balance between them is essential. Nature doesn’t respect those who are not prepared.

Works Cited

Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild.  USA: Anchor, 1997.


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