In the novel, A Hero’s Journey, Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, writer, and lecturer, states that “every decision made by a young person is life decisive. What seems to be a small problem is really a large one. So everything that is done early in life is functionally related to a life trajectory” (Campbell). In mythic criticism, the critic sees mythic archetypes and imagery connecting and contrasting it with other similar works. Certain patterns emerge, such as a traditional hero on a journey towards self actualization. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer portrays this hero’s journey. The protagonist of the novel, Chris McCandless, hitchhikes to Alaska and walks alone into the wilderness, north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in
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The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun” (57). Chris rejects established norms of the modern world and sees himself as the center of his own existence, so he changes his name to Alex Supertramp along his journey, in order to truly fit the role of the romantic hero. Alex tried to escape from reality and relationships because he wanted to experience new elements of life but always got drawn back to people because what he stood for was very likable by other people. Alex’s personality lured many people into his life, yet he always left because he thought that true joy was to experience new things and move away from the social norms of relationships and their grounding reality. His love and compassion that ultimately creates relationships always keeps him from completing his transformation of becoming a traditional romantic hero. This is in direct relation with the mythic pattern between the traditional romantic hero and the “modern” hero.
The relationships that Chris McCandless created during his journeys became an essential role in the crafting of the pattern that he experienced along his heroic journey. Franz, one of the people that Chris befriended along his travels, told Krakauer, “When I