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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

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Maddie Billups

on 1 January 2014

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Transcript of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Question #4: What is "the wild"? Is it the same as the wilderness?

For Chris McCandless, the wild was a place where he would be alone. For him, the wild was someplace where he was entirely himself and was not forced to conform to the society around him. "The wild" for Chris McCandless was anywhere that he was reaching his goals and living life the way he thought it was intended to live. This was not necessarily the wilderness. Chris did not have to be out in the wilderness for him to be in "the wild", although he tended to gravitate towards the wilderness. For Chris, he could have been in the middle of a busy town but still be in "the wild" because he was entirely himself and living life the way he believed it suppose to be lived.
Question #1
Question #5: What is it about extreme adventure that draws some people in? Is the pursuit of such extremes selfish or admirable?

Extreme adventure offers a break from every day life and the repetitive pattern that we are subject to. There is something about doing crazy, life-threatening things that helps you breathe just a little easier. It is in Americans' blood to be full of wanderlust and have the drive and the want to try new things and explore. It is this wanderlust and this want to be different and break out of the every day routine. This thirst for adventure and danger is both selfish and admirable. It is admirable that they are doing what makes them happy when so many of us want to, but don't have the courage to do it. It is also extremely selfish because they are only thinking about themselves and not the repercussions it may have on those around them.
Question #2
Question #3
Question #6: What are the connections between this book and transcendentalism?

Transcendentalism has three main points 1) We are connected to the universe.
2) The universe is our textbook.
3) If so, you are a non-conformist.
This book has a large amount of connections to transcendentalism. The most obvious is that the majority of the book takes place in nature or the universe. Throughout his travels, he is constantly exploring nature and being thrown into all sorts of situations and elements. The second is that the universe is our textbook. This applies because Chris learns almost everything from nature and from the natural things around him. He gets his ideas from the lessons he takes from the world around him and bases his actions off of them. The third part, if so you are a non-conformist, applies because Chris lived his life attempting to be a non-conformist and following the first two rules in order to transcend society and be the person he feels he was born to be.
Quote #1
"It is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your God-given right to have it." (Krakauer 155)
"And now after two rambling years comes the final and greatest adventure, the climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual revolution. Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitchhiking bring him to the great white North. No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild." (Chris McCandless 163)
“It is hardly unusual for a young man to be drawn to a pursuit considered reckless by his elders; engaging in risky behavior is a rite of passage in our culture no less than in most others. Danger has always held a certain allure. That, in large part, is why so many teenagers drive too fast and drink too much and take too many drugs, why it has always been so easy for nations to recruit young men to go to war. It can be argued that youthful derring-do is in fact evolutionarily adaptive, a behavior encoded in our genes. McCandless, in his fashion, merely took risk-taking to its logical extreme.” (182)
Motivation One: Not rely on society.
Chris McCandless was always trying to do things without the help of others. He tried to succeed in live living off the things he could get himself so he never owed anyone anything.
Motivation Two: Never let himself down.
Chris was always holding himself to high expectations and never settling for less. He kept on himself to be the best he could be and achieve everything he dreamed, to live a happy life.
Mentor One: Henry David Thoreau
Just like Thoreau, McCandless was an idealist. Chris aimed to be like Thoreau and left society, just as Thoreau did. He bases his beliefs off of the beliefs that he shares with Thoreau and aspires to be like him in many ways.
Mentor Two: Wayne Westerberg
While Chris was traveling, he did not like to stay in one place for too long. When he met Wayne Westerberg though, he did. Chris shared many of the same thoughts as Wayne and learned to care for this man. From then on, he was thinking of Wayne and even made some decisions based on him. Wayne Westerberg changed Chris's life.
My main motivation is to succeed. I think I work mostly to please myself and reach the goals I deem necessary.
Motivation and Mentor
My main mentor is my brother. Growing up with him, I've witnessed what success looks like on many different levels. I aspire to be like him daily.
Quote #2
Quote #3
Quote #4
This quote by Krakauer justifies the feelings that Chris had for the world. Being a young man, Chris had this idea that if he wanted something badly enough, he could have it. He believed that if he fought for something enough, tried hard enough, or hoped enough, the possibilities were endless. Chris believed that anything he imagined could be his. Whether that be a new car, or a whole new life alone in the wilderness. I believe that Chris had this idea while he was making all of his crazy life decisions. He didn't think about anything that could stop his from achieving his goals. I believe that this thought can help anyone navigate this world. I believe that this pure idea of endless success is a guide to a successful like for anyone, if it is interpreted the correct way. If someone believes that he or she can achieve anything, they will take chances and not fear failure or rejection.
This quote from Chris helps show how he felt about the society he was in. The words he uses to describe his life so far are nothing but negative. I believe that this quote shows not only his feeling towards society but also how happy he is about the life he chose and the experiences he was going to have. He speaks of going to Alaska as his "final and greatest adventure." Chris seems ready to return back to a "normal" life, but first he is thrilled for this new experience. He claims that he is going to "kill the false being within." By this, I think he is just trying to show how extremely horrible he believes our society is, and most of the people in it. I think that this philosophy explains some of the reasoning behind by Chris went into the wild and why he left society. I do not agree that it helps navigate, though. To me, it seems as if Chris is just trying to run from society and from the things that scare him. I believe Chris is opposite of most people and instead of being scared of the wild, he was scared of civilization. For what ever reason, Chris felt uncomfortable in society and was forced to leave.
"...Chatting with prostitutes and homeless people, buying them meals, earnestly suggesting ways they might improve their lives." (113)
In this quote, Krakauer is comparing the decisions Chris made and the mindset he had, to everyone else. Krakauer is justifying Chris and his crazy decisions by explaining that he is not the only young man or the only person to ever doing anything daring. I believe that this quote helps to understand Chris on more of a personal level. It helps you connect and relate. This "allure" to certain danger is what many think to be the reason for Chris' odyssey. I believe that Chris was unintentionally following this quote throughout his life and he was allowing it to help him navigate, even if he didnt know he was. I think that this quote could help anyone navigate the world, me included. This quote shows the allure of daring things, the defiance of our elders, and the extremes that some go to. I believe that this quote is huge in defining Chris and his life and that it was a huge part in the navigation of his life.
I believe that this quote is extremely helpful in understanding who Chris McCandless was. This quote is explaining that Chris would talk to anyone. He didn't care about their job, their money, or their social status. Chris cared solely about peoples' personalities and thoughts. Chris would help anyone that he thought needed help even if they were a prostitute or a homeless person. This idea of loving everyone and this want to help people despite their image was a huge part of Chris's life. He used this thought every single day in every decision he made and with every person he meant. His non-judgemental nature was a determining factor in his life. I believe that this idea should and could help anyone navigate through their life. If everyone lived a little more like Chris McCandless, this world would be a better place. His non-judgemental ways and how he did just what he wanted were a huge contributor to his journey.
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