Finding Yourself "the core of man's spirit comes from new experiences"

No, man. Alaska, Alaska. I'm gonna be all the way out there, all the way fucking out there. Just on my own. You know, no fucking watch, no map, no axe, no nothing. No nothing. Just be out there. Just be out there in it. You know, big mountains, rivers, sky, game. Just be out there in it, you know? In the wild. - Christopher McCandless

Overview

Alaska; the one set-in-stone plan Chris had when he made the decision to leave everything behind and escape into the wild. In his mind, he thinks he can make the journey to Alaska 100% by himself. Although at the start, he feels excited and free, his confidence turns at the end and he realizes that maybe this isn't something he can do alone. Throughout the long journey, Chris forms relationships with people he meets. He learns a lot about them and they learn a lot about each other. The purpose of this essay is to express that I don't believe humans are meant to go through the roller coaster of life completely alone. Despite the fact that Chris thinks he can do this solo, he ends up receiving a lot of much needed help from his newfound comrades. In fact, basically as soon as Chris became completely alone, he dies.

Reason for leaving

Chris couldn't stand the reality that everybody was living. Going through the motions of your every day life, settling for a job that makes you miserable, and losing sight of what is truly important in life. The world became too superficial and he hated it. He needed to escape. He left his family and his friends and all the unnecessary aspects of life in order to discover himself and find the strict necessities to live a life filled with pure joy and happiness. Unfortunately, when Chris left, he had less than minimal survival skills and tools. He walked right into his own death.

After his college graduation, his family took him to lunch and surprised him with the news that they will be buying him a new car. His car was perfectly fine, so he didn't understand why he would get a new one. Chris didn't like what kind of people his parents are. His dad was a terrible father figure that seemed to think money and work were the most important things in life. His mom couldn't really hide the fact that their marriage was unhealthy, she looked miserable. She went through the motions of life and Chris couldn't stand it. He refused to become like them and everybody else; in my opinion this lunch was what pushed him over the edge and felt the absolute need to get away. He was done with college anyway, so what better time to escape? It was time to leave everything behind and set out for Alaska.

About Chris

Chris was different. He was different in the way that he hated the every day way of life he was constantly drowned in. He came from a very wealthy family and he had a high education with a promising future, but he wasn't into any of that. He wasn't into the money and the cars; he wasn't into the superficial lifestyle. ''He didn’t want to be the person his parents wanted him to be, he most certainly didn’t want to be the person society expected him to be, he wanted to be Alexandar Supertramp. He wanted the rawness of life itself, the beauty of nature surrounding him, independence from what society has told us we “need” to survive'' (Jessica Robbins. May 3, 2012). It was important to Chris to live life in the simplest form, be one with nature, just as God intended humans to live.

In his decision to leave home, he decides he wants to leave absolutely everything; who he is and everything he owns. To do so, Christopher changes his name to Alexander Supertramp, he donates his savings to charity (under his new alias), and abandons his car. He makes his escape completely untraceable. This shows just how serious he was about his decision. It wasn't until about two years later that he again referred to himself as Christopher McCandless. He died shortly after this and I think it was a key detail in his journey. I think if he would have remained "Christopher," throughout, he could have saved himself from the mistaken plant. He believed so much in "calling everything by its proper name" but didn't practice this to a T.

When Chris is talking to his friend Ron, he tells him "you're wrong if you think that the joy of life comes principally from the joy of human relationships." Though this was his true feelings basically throughout his entire journey, his opinion changed. Chris didn't set out to find out he is, he already knew that; he ended up finding a new part of himself. He came to understand that "happiness is only real when shared."

I think when he originally set out on this new life, he was so caught up and overwhelmed with the vast majority of society living life the way he couldn't stand living, that he was blind to the fact that there are others that feel the same way he does. The relationships he developed along the way opened his eyes, and his heart as well. It wasn't until this love he felt for these people so similar to him that he came to the realization that you need to share happiness versus his original opinion on the joys of life, in order to truly live happily.

Chris really wasn't that much different from a lot of young adults. Even though he went to the extreme, the fact of the matter is Chris was finding himself just like you and me; he was testing himself without fully realizing how much he really was. Obviously he took things very far, but I think he got almost exactly what he wanted out of the journey, and much more, despite his plan to eventually return back to society.

Reflection

Throughout this essay, I struggled in more ways than one. I really wasn't a fan of this essay format because I didn't understand it. Once I got a firm grasp on it though, I thought it was a fun way to write. Another way I struggled was that I really didn't feel a strong connection with this topic; it just wasn't something that screamed out to me. My goal for this piece was to help people realize that you really never stop learning about yourself no matter who or what you are surrounded by. Chris' outlook on happiness and relationships changed drastically during his journey. For my sources I searched for articles and other essays written about Chris McCandless. I didn't search for anything in particular, I just wanted to learn more about him and see other peoples thoughts in order to get a better understanding for myself.

Citations

  • Christopher McCandlessaka Alexander Supertramp. (n.d.). Retrieved December 05, 2016, from http://www.christophermccandless.info/into-the-wild-essays/jessica-robbins-intothewild.html
  • Christopher McCandlessaka Alexander Supertramp. (n.d.). Retrieved December 05, 2016, from http://www.christophermccandless.info/
  • M. (2013). Into The Wild (2007) - Ending "Happiness Is Only Real When Shared" Retrieved December 05, 2016, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2k-oo2TT-0
  • ”Quotes.” IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.”

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