Into the Wild Essay

Submitted By csharkin
Words: 1383
Pages: 6

In his book Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer shows Christopher McCandless as a complex young man who left all his possessions behind and began a trek across part of the United States, which would eventually lead him to his demise in Alaska. During his journey, McCandless encounters numerous friendly individuals who offer him shelter and comfort, which his home could provide, but Chris rejected it. However these same relationships included complexities and touch on conflicts that Chris largely avoided. During those two years, McCandless didn’t contact anyone including his sister, with whom he was very close to. While he meets many people on the road and becomes close to a few of them, he always makes sure to maintain a certain distance. Most of them seemed attached to him and enjoy his company, but he did not share the same feelings. Of the few that got attached to him, he held a conflict with all of them including him. These people did not know how unstable Chris actually was, but hoped he would come back and be with them one last time. Chris did not feel the same detachment; he loved life and walked into the wild with an open mind free of our materialistic world.
McCandless has deep problems with intimacy, which is very vital in his fatal two-year quest for meaning and peace in his life. As McCandless’s father, Walt becomes the root of why McCandless ran off as he did. Walt himself is a rich man and attempts to persuade Chris to follow his footsteps. After five years of dwelling on his anger against his father, McCandless decides that he stand his parents and disappears, attempting to teach his them a lesson as well. Chris and his father had a very distant relationship. He felt his parents were too materialistic. The final split between Chris and his father came about when Chris learned the ugly truth in his fathers past. He could not forgive his father’s polygamy and his mother’s role in the cover up. After that discovery, he decided to “divorce” himself from his parents. He needed to escape and disconnect himself completely to get a better understanding of which he was, and why his parents were they way they are. “… he intended to invent an utterly new life for himself, one in which he would be free to wallow in unfiltered experience. To symbolize the complete severance from his previous life, he even adopted a new name.” (23). McCandless was very thrown off by his discovery of his dad’s former marriage and the children he had with the other woman as well. This was all so questionable to Chris, he felt he was not like his parents at all and did not understand why they accepted the way they were living. One important friendship that Chris forms during his odyssey involves Wayne Westerberg and works well partly because Wayne places no demands on Chris other than hard work. Consequently, Chris’s emotional turmoil remains hidden. After McCandless runs from his family, this intense and unresolved conflict haunts him and surfaces in other relationships he forms along the way, he becomes a close friend and a younger brother figure to Wayne. Because he does not judge Chris, Wayne acts an inspiration to McCandless. Chris saw that Wayne was very free and wild like himself. They both would break the law and shared multiple similarities. Chris and Wayne had a sort of mysterious relationship, Chris never shared anything about his family or background education, but Westerberg did not care because Chris was such a hard diligent worker that he had nothing to complain about. “Westerberg, for his part, didn’t concern himself with McCandless’s family problems. “Whatever reason he had for being pissed off, I figured it must have been a good one.”” (63). Despite their closeness, McCandless leaves Carthage to wander around again, but maintains friendship with Westerberg through letters, written to him while he was in jail for setting up illegal cable television for people and not paying for it. While