In the book Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer provides the story of Christopher Johnson McCandless and his journey to Alaska. In this book Krakauer tells us how McCandlesses decisions led to his amazing adventures, why he did these travels, and where it got him in the end. Although Chris J. McCandless appeared angry, depressed, crazy and narcissistic he was just a young man trying to find his peace and what made him happiest.
Chris McCandless was just a man who was trying to get emancipated from all social norms to find what made him happiest. As a kid Chris was very active and loved being outdoors. Him wanting to be outdoors all the time as a kid would no doubt not be a surprising reason for him to want to Peregrinate and travel to Alaska alone. Though he met many people along the way and was offered many different supplies from these people as well, he decided he needed to do this on his own in order to have a clean slate for him to work with to find what he is most passionate about to make him happy.
Chris seemed to be a very dedicated person to his travels and work as well, though at times he could be stubborn, it could sometimes almost be in a positive and motivational way. As stated by Krakauer, ???Once Alex made up his mind about something, there was no changing it’ (Krakauer 67). Though his decision to go to Alaska seemed anomaly, he was very strong minded when it came to making a decision about his travels. Chris was very confident in himself and his survival in Alaska.
When Chris left to begin his adventure he wanted to derelict his whole life behind so he can get a fresh start, he had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself (Krakauer Cover). This may seem fatuous to many but to chris this is something he wanted to do so he could emancipate from all social norms, he also ended up changing his name to Alex. This was only the beginning of his newly invented life, he was at rubicon. He did this so he could not be contacted or tracked by anyone. Perambulating through many different types of societies, he got to experience different ways of life as well as how differently people acted all around the country. Some were more laid back than others, i’m sure some were more religious than others. Experiencing these different types of social norms provided him with an idea of how different societies act in different parts of the world.
Although Alex left his family and old life behind he created a new life by making new friends, potential family and basically a whole new life. On the way to Alaska a man who he met while hitchhiking Ronald Franz, was probably the closest person to him during this adventure. Ronald Franz wanted to adopt Chris as his grandson, which pretty much sums up how close they got. Ronald Franz stated so i asked Alex if i could adopt him, if he would be my grandson (Krakauer 55). Ronald seemed to be the most helpful person to Chris but he didn’t want to accept any help from anyone no matter how close or helpful they seemed to be.
Perhaps many people did think he was an insane man looking for a death wish or was malevolent, and he knew he wasn’t going to make it out alive. Many people said that he was an insane man because he dropped everything he had going for him and left it all behind. In the TedTalk his sister talked about how Chris graduated college with honors. Many people would say, why would he leave that behind when he could’ve used that to become something big like a doctor or even a lawyer. A lot of people would ask why he left his family behind he grew up in a great loving home.
But little did they know he was actually emotionally and physically abused growing up, his father showed no clemency. His sister also said that they grew up in a home of, domestic violence, lies, and manipulation, they grew up going to sunday school that their parents taught, then being taught at home that their father was god. Growing up in this kind of family they knew they had to protect each other so Chris was her protector, she grew up knowing he would protect her if anything happened. But when Chris left to Alaska that all changed because throughout his journey they began to lose contact with each other.
Those who knew this was going on believed that he was depressed and this might be a reason he left everything behind but no one noticed anything was wrong. He never showed symptoms such as, Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness (Mayo Clinic Staff). They said he seemed happy and that nothing was wrong but often times people miss the symptoms of being depressed. For example people experience, Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches (Mayo Clinic Staff), which he may have felt but never complained about it because he thought he was sore or dehydrated. He also could’ve been experiencing Sleep disturbances, including insomnia (mayo clinic staff) which people aren’t going to notice.
In the end of his journey to Alaska he did not survive long enough to make it home, which is one of the reasons people thought he was looking for a death wish or was just idiotic in general for making the decision to go to Alaska. Many people aid that, …McCandless ended up dead with the story of his dumbassedness splashed across the media (Krakauer 71). After his death and his body was discovered, this made to be one of the top stories on the news that people were talking about.
Though Chris McCandless did not survive and had no repertoire in this adventure, he did discover what truly made him happy before his death. Moments before his death he recorded one of his last journal entry which McCandless stated, HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED (Krakauer 189). McCandless discovered that he really couldn’t be happy unless he had someone to share his happiness with.
McCandless also wanted it to be known his life was good and well spent. He wrote in his journal, I HAVE HAD A HAPPY LIFE AND THANK THE LORD. GOODBYE AND MAY GOD BLESS ALL! (Krakauer 199). Though many people thought he was insane and didn’t know what he was doing or knew what he wanted to do, he lived a good, happy life as he said in his journal entry in his last goodbye to everyone and anyone who was there for him or heard about him.
McCandless found what made him happy and he found his true peace in the end. McCandless survived 112 days after he’d walked into the wild (Krakauer 199), which may not seem like a long time but that is almost half a year. He survived a half a year with minimal supplies, and no contact with anyone whatsoever. In his last moments alive he was smiling in a picture that he took of himself and there is no mistaking the look in his eyes: Chris McCandless was at peace, serene as a monk gone to God (Krakauer 199).
Chris McCandless was finally at ease, Chris McCandless was full of gratitude and pride. Chris McCandless discoverer his happiness and died taking that happiness with him. Chris had his story, and now its being told letting people know that HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED (Krakauer 189). Chris was only doing what felt right for himself to do, in order to find himself and set himself free from social norms and live his life to the fullest it could be, so he could find his own happiness and peace. There was no crazy, no depression, no deathwish, just a man discovering his true happiness.
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