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Family Structure, Family Process and Father Involvement Essay

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Updated: Jan 4th, 2022

Jon Krakauer, a famous American writer, dedicated his work to the life of a boy who left his home, parents, and college, and went hiking through the United States. The boy could enjoy all aspects of life, the majority of young people can only dream about: his parents were rich, he had his own bill with thousands of dollars on it, he had a car, etc. Still, Chris, the boy, denied all kinds of welfare. The author of the book present stories of several young men who committed the same actions. However, Jon Krakauer offers his own reasons why the boy decided to repudiate society. Although the author presents his viewpoint in a persuasive way, I cannot say that I agree with him in every aspect. To my mind, the main mistake Joe Krakauer made was an analogy between his personal experience and Chris’s life. We should not forget that we are all different, so, we cannot judge other’s behavior, because, in this case it will not be an objective viewpoint.

So, the author presents several reasons which in combination gave birth for of Chris’s idea to seclude oneself from society. It is not the main reason by the author. Still, I disagree on that fact. In one chapter the author gives some facts about relationships of the book is dedicated to the relationship of Chris and his grandfather, Loren Johnson. The boy adored his granny. It is not a secret that parents always have problems with children, they do not understand each other: parents do not see problems of their children, while children do not appreciate diligence their parents make to make their life happier. Jon Krakauer admitted in his work that Chris’s grandfather influenced the boy’s outlook. In many aspects he was opposed to Chris’s father, Walt McCandless. The grandfather was a romantic person: he liked poetry, he adored hunting, but he was eager to cry over all animals he killed, etc. The father was a successful man, he had his own business. He wanted his son to be successful as he was. We can see from the book that the grandfather told different stories about nature and was highly concerned with its beauty. Still, Chris’s father also inculcated the love for nature:

When Chris was eight, Walt took him on his first overnight backpacking trip, a three-day hike in the Shenandoah to climb Old Rag. They made the summit, and Chris carried his own pack the whole way. Hiking up the mountain became a father-son tradition; they climbed Old Rag almost every year thereafter. (Krakauer 76)

That is we cannot say that Chris and his father were not close to each other. Nature played a great role in the boy’s life: his grandfather, father, and books by Jack London. That is why I may suppose that the main reason why the boy went away and decided to spend his time in Alaska was youthful romanticism and maximalism.

The main reason, according to Jon Krakauer, is the generation gap between the father and son. The author explains that the boy became crazy about the fact that his father, a respectable man, had an affair with his ex-wife. The author argues that this was the main incitement for the boy: he disappointed in his father, Chris thought that his father offers him to act in this or that way because he had a right to do it. The awareness that his father was not perfect and that he played the hypocrite with his son, influenced naïve world of Chris. Still, I cannot agree that it was the main reason: it was just a motivation. Of course, Jon Krakauer applies to his own life experience in order to describe the boy’s behavior. The author presents an analogy between him and Let us do not forget that Chris was about twenty years old when he went to his trip. Krakauer is sure that “fathers and their role in healthy adolescent development may be a useful strategy for family intervention and policy” (Salem, Zimmerman, and Notaro), and Walter failed to supply Chris with happy life. Nevertheless, it was just the author’s opinion. Jon Krakauer uses analogy method in order to make his viewpoint sound persuasive. It is understandable for the fact that Krakauer had the same situation with his father: he believed in his reason and proved it (Sharp 938). Still, we should keep in mind the fact all children who live with their parents, want to try life as independent personalities. That is why I am eager to think that Chris just wanted to find out whether he could survive in difficult situation.

Chris was a well-read young man, he cited many classical writers. For example, quotes from Jack London’s books are used as epigraphs. It is not a secret that London devoted many of his books to the life in the Northern Parts of the continent. Perhaps, Chris was highly impressed by London’s ideas and description of severe life. It gives us the right to offer the third reason why Chris went away from home. On the one hand, he had an opportunity to try himself in difficult situation. “The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences…” (Krakauer 58). On the other hand Chris could think of his role in life, which is so important in such period of life. In other words, the trip and life in Alaska was a necessary period of self-examination. “McCandless went into the wilderness not primarily to ponder nature or world at large but, rather, to explore the inner country of his own soul” (Krakauer 182).

To my mind the wish to go away from home, live alone, spend some time in Alaska was a whim. The boy wanted to experience a true life, with true adventures. The quote: “Happiness only real when shared” (Krakauer 129) just proves my idea. The thing is that Chris understood that he made a mistake, and it is rather difficult to survive in severe and loneliness in not the way out.

Nevertheless, it was my personal opinion. Many people blamed Chris McCandless that he left his home, parents, life, friends, etc, without any obvious reason, arguing that it was just nothing but a foolish act. The authors managed to specificate one f the main problems of youth. The work by Jon Krakauer penetrates the aftereffect of wrong misinterpreting of adolescents, their wishes, and interests. In other words, The Into the Wild is the message to take a closer look at young generation, and period in everyone’s life which may be described as the crisis.

Works Cited

Krakauer, Joe. Into the Wild. Port Moody: Anchor. Print.

Salem, Deborah A., Marc A. Zimmerman, and Paul C. Notaro. “Effects of Family Structure, Family Process and Father Involvement on Psychosocial Outcomes among African American Adolescents.” Family Relations 47.4 (1998): 331

Sharp, Michael D., ed. Popular Contemporary Writers. Vol. 7. New York: Marshall Cavendish Reference, 2006.

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