In Jon Krakuer's novel Into the Wild, the main character, Chris McCandless, seeks nature so that he can find a sense of belonging and the true meaning of who he is. However, it is the essence of nature that eventually takes his life away from him. At the end of his life, he is discovers his purpose and need of other people. After Chris McCandless death in Alaska, Krakuer wrote Into the Wild to reflect on the journey that McCandless makes. Krakuer prot rays McCandless as a young man who is reckless, selfish, and arrogant, but at the same time, intelligent, determined, independent, and charismatic. Along with the irony that occurs in nature, these characteristics are the several factors that contribute to McCandless death.
Chris McCandless is a young man who chooses to alienate himself from society. After graduating college, Chris embarks on several journeys in the outdoors. Chris buys a car and departs to the West, eventually hoping to make a trip to Alaska. Modeling himself after Tolstoy (a transcendentalist writer), Chris looks to be one with nature, yet neglects to see its danger. Naively, Chris seeks nature as a place of belonging and a site of adventure. Just as Chris is trying to overcome the dangers of nature, he is overcoming the doubts that he has within himself, which include his fears of developing close and personal relationships and his fear of being judged.
The trip to Alaska pushes Chris to his limits and in the end he finally comes to identify with himself, comes to grips with his personality, and be driven all by himself, rather than by the needs or responsibilities of society or others. In addition to using nature as a way to find himself, Chris also uses nature as a method of avoiding his own realities, such as his relationship troubles with his parents. Chris refuses to confront his parents with the troubles of their relationship. In a letter to his sister Carine, Chris states: "Since they won't ever take me seriously, for a few months after graduation I'm going to let them think they are right, I'm going to let them think I'm coming around to see their side of things and that our relationship is stabilizing. And then once the time is right, with one abrupt, swift action I'm going to divorce them as my parents once and for all and never speak to either of those idiots again as long as I live.
I'll be through with them once and for all, forever" (Krakuer 64). The long journeys were needed means of escape of these troubles. In nature, Chris focused only on himself and survival, rather than his troubles at home, the needs of others, or the standards of society. In a way, he was forced to go into the outdoors because of these poor relationships and inner conflicts within himself. Although Chris sought nature to help him, it destroyed him. He never returned from Alaska to put into practice what he had finally learned about himself and his need for others.
Nature and his plan had worked against him, since, he eventually died of starvation. One of the chief reasons why Chris Mccandless had died of starvation in Alaska was because he was reckless. He was reckless because he was so ill prepared for his journey, and arrogant because he refused to listen to the advice of natives, such as Alex. Chris was intelligent and he knew the conditions of Alaska, but he did not prepare for it. Even after Chris was warned he was determined in carrying out his plans. He was also reckless in thinking that he would be able to come out of Alaska alive.
Krakuer writes that Gallien said, 'I said hunting wasn't easy that where he was going he could go days without killing any game' (Krakuer 6). He adds that 'Alex didn't seem too worried and he wouldn't give an inch. He had an answer for everything I threw at him' (Krakuer 6). If Chris was properly prepared he may have made it out of Alaska alive, rather than dying of starvation. However, he traveled with cheap leather hiking boots, a. 22 caliber that was to small for the animals he planned to kill, a ten pound bag of rice, and clothing that was minimal for the types of conditions that he would be encountering.
Another contributing factor of McCandless' death reflects his lack of preparation, this includes McCandless need for independence and his " do it all myself" attitude, along with his arrogance. Chris is arrogant because he does not listen to anyone's advice. Anyone that tries to offer Chris advice or help him along the way, he shuns away from. For example, Krakuer states that "Gallien offered to drive him Alex all the way to Anchorage, buy him some decent gear, and then drive him back to wherever he wanted to go.' No thanks anyway, I'll be fine with what I've got'" (Krakuer 6). He was to arrogant and proud to take any advice from other people because he felt that he could manage and survive without their help. Thus, because of his arrogance he walked into the wild ill-supported and paid for it with his life.
However at the end of his life, he realized that he did need people to help him. In the last few pages of his journal it is evident that his arrogance was relinquished and he wrote, 'HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED' (Krakuer 189). All of these factors connect to Chris's need of finding who he is, which ultimately leads to his death. Despite the foolish decisions Chris makes, he ultimately wanted to be free. Free from his parents, free from society, but most importantly, free from himself.
Chris McCandless was his own worst enemy. If he was not as determined or intelligent, he would not have felt the need to go through with these journeys. He was not a bad or stupid man, rather, he was confused soul. His biggest downfall was allowing for his pride to impede him from making the correct decisions. In addition to his need for independence, and his capability..