Into The Wild Chris McCandless and his Alaskan Expedition

Greetings from Fairbanks! This is the last you shall hear from me Wayne. Arrived here 2 days ago. It was very difficult to catch rides in the Yukon Territory. But I finally got here.

Into the Wild is a nonfiction novel written by Jon Krakauer explaining the adventures, encounters, and experiences that Chris McCandless (Alexander Supertramp) endeavored when he hitchhiked his way across the country to reach the Alaskan tundra. McCandless proved himself to be self sufficient, educated, social, and thoughtful until his demise in August 1992. His ideas, personal writings, and insight live on.

Chris McCandless was born on February 12th, 1968 in California but grew up in Annandale, Virginia with his father, Walt, his mother, Billie, and sister, Carine. He attended high school at Wilbert Tucker Wilson and graduated from Emory University with honors in 1990. After he finished college, McCandless made the life changing decisions to donate all of his money to charity, scrap all sources of identification, live under a new name, (Alexander Supertramp) and begin his "great adventure" to Alaska. He met several people along the way such as Wayne Westerberg, Jim Gallien, Ronald Franz, Jan Bures, and many others. Once Chris reached Fairbanks, Alaska, he stayed there for a couple months until he felt it was time to leave. It is believed that one day Chris attempted to cross the river by his camp to head back to his old life. However, the river's current was too strong so he could not get to the other side. Unfortunately, Chris McCandless died of starvation in August 1992, alone, in his bus. He was found 4 months later by a group of moose hunters.

Young Chris McCandless and his family

Map view of Chris's hometown

McCandless Family Portrait (Left: Carine, sister, Billie, mother, Walt, father, and Chris himself)

Chris's college (where he graduated in 1990)

An actual picture Chris took of himself on his journey

Chris's most important goal was to reach Alaskan and "find what he was looking for."

The river that Chris couldn't cross ultimately led to his death.

It is believed that Chris died of the mold present in the different types of seeds he ate, one of them being potato.

One of the most popular pictures of McCandless

Transcendentalism is a literary uprising that branches off of the Romanticism movement. The overall theme of transcendentalism is that man is inferior and nature holds the answers to all of life's problems only if you individually examine it. "Into The Wild" can easily be classified as a piece of modern transcendentalism because it revolves around the concept of self discovery and conquering an obstacle that is beyond one's power. McCandless's mission throughout the novel is to go against the status quo and follow his own intuitive without social pressures, which is exactly what transcendentalism is based upon.

Throughout "Into the Wild," the author points out that Chris McCandless enjoyed reading several types of literature. All these pieces somehow related to transcendentalism. Chris was an advocate of many authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

"Nature" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
"He wasn't antisocial-- he always had friends, and everybody liked him-- but he could go off and entertain himself for hours. He didn't seem to need toys or friends. He could be alone without being lonely."
"Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
"He said it was something he wanted to do since he was little," says Stuckey. "Said he didn't want to see a single person, no airplanes, no sign of civilization. He wanted to prove to himself that he could make it on his own, without anybody's help."
"Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau
"Much Madness is divinest Sense" by Emily Dickinson
"When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" by Walt Whitman
Alex answered calmly that no, nobody knew of his plans, that in fact he hadn't spoke to his family in nearly two years. "I'm absolutely positive," he assured Gallien, "I won't run into anything I can't deal with on my own."
"Walden" by Henry David Thoreau

Chris McCandless's sister, Carine, often talks about her brother Chris and his life. Sometimes she even opens up about the experiences of her childhood and what could have possibly led Chris up to his breaking point. She agrees to do seminars on TV shows and public speaks to audiences willing to hear her story. In the videos listed below, she covers her emotions and perspective on the events of her brother's journey.

Chris McCandless's death has been a controversial topic since the day he was discovered motionless in his camp. The article below focuses on the plausible explanations and opinions on what exactly ended Chris's life.

Please return all mail I receive to the sender. It might be a very long time before I return South. If this adventure proves fatal and you don't ever hear from me again I want you to know that you're a great man. I now walk into the wild. Alex.

Credits:

Created with images by Oaktown Pete - "Upper Muldrow Glacier" • Paxson Woelber - "Byron Peak, Alaska" • Madeleine_H - "The replica of the school bus that Chris McCandless lived in, this one was used for the filming of Into the Wild" • Pexels - "animals bull daylight" • Moyan_Brenn - "Desert" • Unsplash - "canoe lake sunset" • DariuszSankowski - "old retro antique" • Rex Gray - "1972 Datsun 240Z - yellow - fvr" • Unsplash - "hitchhiker thumb hoodie" • Schmid-Reportagen - "alaska glacier ice" • Tim Green aka atoach - "River Kennal 1"

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