Into the Wild Character Analysis

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” (Amelia Earhart). In life we make choices, and those choices result in consequences, whether they be good or bad. Some have it embedded in their minds that the risk of decisions is too much, that it should not even be acted upon. They ignore the reward of the risk and focus only on the negative outcome of a choice feeling safe and secure not diving into the search of the unknown. When someone does strive for their desire, they feel free. “Into the Wild” written by Jon Krakauer is a true story about a young man named Chris McCandless. Chris lived outside the system, away from most people, money, and all other worldly things. He died however, while living in the wilderness in Alaska. Chris was not simply some idiot who thought he was above everyone though. Chris McCandless was an intelligent person; though stubborn, he had an inspiring personality which many people admired.
Chris was an intelligent individual that knew his way through many situations. “It was a two-hour drive from Fairbanks to the edge of Denali Park. The more they talked the less Alex struck Gallien as a nutcase. He was congenial and seemed well educated. He peppered Gallien with thoughtful questions about the kind of small game that lived in the country, the kinds of berries he could-“‘that kind of thing.’” (Krakauer 5). Seeing him as just a weird hitchhiker asking for a death sentence in Alaska, Gallien did not expect Chris to be such a well rounded, intelligent person. He admired that about Chris.
Chris was always an intelligent, woke person. “Chris was a high achiever in almost everything that caught his fancy. Academically he brought home A’s with little effort.” (Krakauer 109). Whenever Chris set out to do something he would not finish until he was done with a perfect result. Chris was never lazy about things, he searched for more information and devoured it.
Chris loved to dwell in the works of famous authors (philosophers). His main inspirations came from Jack London, Thoreau and Tolstoy. He would write small excerpts of the books in his journal. “The dominant primordial beast was strong in Buck, and under the fierce conditions of tail life it grew and grew. Yet it was a secret growth. His newborn cunning gave him poise and control.” (Jack London). He lived out his beliefs based off these books he read. In fact, Chris spent his last days reading the books he had, as if using them as an escape from the wild.
Chris was an extraordinary character; though, one of his flaws was how stubborn he was. “‘Hell no,” Alex scoffed. “How I feed myself is none of the government’s business. Fuck their stupid rules.’” (Krakauer 6). Chris makes himself sound a little stubborn and naive in this text. This is an example of how Chris leads some people to believe he was just a dumb idiot.
Chris made some questionable decisions that angered many people. “Then, in a gesture that would have done both Thoreau and Tolstoy proud, he arranged all his paper currency in a pile on the sand-a pathetic little stack of ones and fives and twenties-and put a match to it. One hundred twenty-three dollars in legal tender was promptly reduced to ash and smoke.” (Krakauer 29). Lord knows most people would never burn their own money like this bold act Chris committed.
Chris would not accept most aid from anyone. He struggled to come to a realization that what he had was not sufficient enough for his journey. “After the extended argument Burres also got McCandless to accept some long underwear and other warm clothing she thought he’d need in Alaska. “‘He eventually took it to shut me up,” she laughs, “but the day he left, I found most of it in the van. He’d pulled it out of his pack when we weren’t looking and hid it up under the seat. Alex was a great kid, but he could really make me mad sometimes.’’’ (Krakauer 46). If Chris would have accepted the supplies and advice that people wanted to give him, then he may have come out of Alaska alive.
Throughout Chris’s whole journey he may have only thought that this impacted him and his family. However, Chris’s tenacity and drive inspired a population of many. “‘Many people have told that they admire Chris for what he was trying to do. If he’d lived, I would agree with them…’” (Krakauer 203). Chris touched the lives of people who didn’t even know him. His experiences as a pilgrim, pursuer, and protester made and is making people dream themselves.
During Chris’s travels, he met people of whom by the end of their encounter he impacted their life in some way. “‘When Alex left for Alaska,” Franz remembers, “I prayed, I asked God to keep his finger on the shoulder of that one; I told him that boy was special. But he let Alex die. So on December 26, when I learned that happened, I renounced the Lord. I withdrew my church membership and became an atheist. I decided I couldn’t believe in a God who would let something that terrible happen to a boy like Alex.’” (Krakauer 60). To this man, Chris was so much of a powerful person that his death drove him to renounce his own faith. This is a huge impact on an individual.
While in Carthage, Chris met Westerberg’s mother and they hit it off right then. “‘We talked for hours about books; there aren’t many people in Carthage who like to talk about books. He went on and on about Mark Twain. Gosh, he was fun to visit with; I didn’t want the night to end. I was greatly looking forward to seeing him again this fall. I can’t get him out of my mind. I keep picturing his face-he sat in the same chair you’re sitting in now. Considering that I only spent a few hours in Alex’s company, it amazes me how much I’m bothered by his death.’” Chris visited with this woman for mere hours, yet he had a lasting impact on her life. This is an example of Chris being a person who shouldn’t be considered some idiotic person.
Chris McCandless was a man that thought differently than many people. Not even the fact of his thinking differently, but the fact that he acted out his beliefs. There could have been a chance for him if he had accepted the advice people were trying to give him, he would have lived through the conditions that killed him in Alaska. Chris was never someone that threw away everything in exchange for nothing. He lived his life the way he wanted and many people are afraid to do that. Many people are afraid to pursue their dreams leaving Chris to be an example of inspiration.
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