Heroism In Into The Wild

1216 Words 5 Pages
Over 70% of United States workers are unhappy with their jobs, ranging from complete hatred to a lack of enthusiasm (Stebner Workplace Morale).The new found focus on material wealth has pushed the idea of happiness aside for many Americans. Christopher McCandless, however, refused to comply to this tradition. McCandless abandoned many of his material objects, carrying only what he could carry on his back, to hitchhike to Alaska where he believed happiness could be achieved through complete absorption in nature. McCandless’s method of attaining happiness is often criticized, seen in Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, for being “reckless” (Krakauer Author’s Note), as McCandless’s journey North evidently led to his premature death. While McCandless’s …show more content…
Chris McCandless was a true iconoclast, practicing beliefs that were not widely accepted, the root for much of the criticism he receives. To test himself, McCandless went to the Alaskan plains with no plans, an act that his father, Walt McCandless was very against (McCandless). The fact that McCandless was so unprepared in his journey is a criticism brought up often in the debate of his heroism. McCandless went North with no map, money, proper attire, food, and proper knowledge (Krakauer 5). McCandless lacked proper hunting skills, seen in McCandless’s killing of the moose. McCandless did not know the best way to preserve meat was to cut it in thin strips and let it dry, and instead smoked the meat, a decision that proved to be burdensome and stupid (Krakauer 166). However, McCandless consciously decided to be unprepared in his journey, as a major component to his philosophy was to be unprepared to fully experience the pure rawness nature had to offer. This bold decision sadly results in his premature death, which may be seen as a deterrent for McCandless’s heroism. However, while it was reckless for McCandless to try and live “off the unspoiled land[s] of Alaska” (Mason), McCandless didn’t go into Alaska expecting an easy journey. McCandless fully understood what he was getting himself into to attain happiness and boldly accepted the possible consequences so he could personally feel happy in a world …show more content…
In McCandless’s journey, his genuine happiness is seen through the notes he left while in the Fairbanks bus. As his starvation grew, the notes also grew in desperation and fear (Krakauer 198). However, his last note concludes his life in a positive way, as he happily expresses how pleased he was with how he lived his life (Krakauer 199).While the state of happiness may have been caused by a sense of euphoria in the moments prior to death, others who have encountered McCandless along his journey also state his happiness (Krakauer 198). When Jan Burres first met Chris, she recalled how, despite his hunger, he was extremely happy (Krakauer 30). This happiness is only increased, when talking about his decision to go to Alaska. While Burres did not understand the choice and worried, McCandless spoke highly of plans with a slight juvenile glee (Krakauer 22). McCandless was rare in chasing happiness and finding it, as fear hold many people back. McCandless went to Alaska to not only find happiness but to find truth in a world where he felt lost. By surrounding himself in nature, McCandless withdrew many of his human relationships, seen with his parents, sister, and friends he made along the journey. While this can be taken as a radical move to find happiness, it shows McCandless

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