It has been noted that “everything that happens to us-graduations, marriage, childbirth, divorce, getting or losing job affects us” (Adulthood 1). It is not right for one to live lonely, but sometimes circumstances may cause one to love this kind of a life. The strange action must have some driving forces behind it that may lead a young person to choose a lone life.
How can one choose to live alone or decide to live with animals in the wild? This essay will discuss the book, In the Wild with emphasis on a young man, McCandless and how he went to Alaskan Odyssey as a result of crises during transition from childhood to adulthood; so as to separate himself from his family.
McCandless’s life is bothered by his parent’s materialistic nature choices and this made him to move out of the home and becomes an itinerant. He lived in the wild where he hunted wildlife such as porcupines and birds for food. He roasted them but sometimes the meat spoiled because of poor methods of meat preservation. In this wild life, he sometimes failed to capture the animals for his meal and was provided by strangers. Unfortunately, he finally died in a bus because of starvation despite the efforts he made to get some assistance.
The Quest for Lonely Life
Christopher McCandless was a man who never liked people to be close to himself. He valued independence. He went to the extreme of being self reliant. He thought that people could not always depend on others but should have time to be alone so that they could discover their own will and thoughts. Christopher McCandless left his home to live on his own; something that not many people could appreciate. It has been felt that the quest for self awareness is something that the modern society is doing away with:
Some of the values that many people in modern society seem to have forgotten are; the quest for personal knowledge, the pursuit of individual happiness while not taking it from others, and above all, the ability to be comfortable in solitude and independence. (LaMarche 1)
McCandless believed in himself and did not want to imitate those around him or conform to their ways of life. He had a strong urge to do things his own way and the wild was the site to pursue his goals and vision. In addition to changing his environment, McCandless changed his name to Alexander Superstramp. This was significant as it symbolized a new person, leaving his former ways of living and stepping into a new way of life characterized by new work and even new meals.
His actions were criticized by many people because he never wanted any associations that would bind him close to other people. LaMarche did this to experiment and at the same time seek his independence. As a young man he did not enjoy the company of his family and kept to himself as he sought what he had considered as important to him: “…it was important for him to see how independent he could be” (LaMarche1)
To the greatest extent, it was his family especially his parents that made him to seek a new way of life which he embraced and considered worthwhile. The parent’s failure to teach and advise him on values of life made a major contribution to his adopting of a new way of life. His fathers’ relationship with his mother was the greatest question factor that pushed him to adapt to his new way of life.
He was disappointed with his father’s action due to his way of thinking that people are supposed to be perfect and that their actions were always supposed to be right. McCandless’ greatest problem was the inability to forgive and communicate accordingly with his parents. He did not have color grey in his world: “Christopher McCandless saw the world in black and white, good and bad, right and wrong, rather like a child does” (LaMarche 1).
McCandless believed that solitary life was rewarding to him. This was a similar case with Sarton who argued that, “Alone one is never lonely: the spirit adventures, walking / in a quiet garden, in a cool house, abiding single there” (Sarton 1). To this young man, what mattered most were his happiness and not other people’s opinions (LaMarche 1)
A person’s life at any given time involves both external and internal aspects. The external system is composed of our membership in the culture: our job, “social class and family and social roles” (Predictable 1); the argument is how a person is able to live to the fullest when he is able to balance all these aspects in his life. Many people often ignore their inner being which is the most crucial. McCandless was not able to share his inner feelings:
Chris was strongly opposed to any kind of unnecessary material procession. He wrote a letter to his sister before he took off to Alaska, complaining about his parents. I can’t believe they’d try and buy me a car. (LaMarche 1)
The young man reasons that there was no need to have luxuries and that one should concentrate only on what they needed. He had a negative attitude towards the wealth of his parents: “Chris is embarrassed by his family’s modest wealth, believing that wealth was shameful, corrupting, and inherently evil” (LaMarche 1).
The young man thought that wealth was an unreasonable way of valuing people and that it did not reveal the real person. McCandless wanted a simple life in the wild where he was ready to face many challenges. His main aim was to be himself. In a person’s development there are various changes that occur:
One is the interior sense of relation to others. A second is the proportion of safeness to danger we feel in our lives. A third is our perception of time-do we have plenty of it, or are we beginning to feel that time is running out? Last, there will be some shift at the gut leveling our sense of aliveness or stagnation. These are the hazy sensations that compose the background tone of living and shape the decisions on which to take action (Adulthood 1).
This is true because it was after McCandless thought deeply about his life that he took off from his home to the wilderness. He compared the wealth of his parent with those of other people in his area and did not appreciate it. He was not able to express himself and reveal his thoughts even to those close to him.
He went to the extent of writing to his sister a letter; it was his sister that he was free to his thoughts with. The wealth of the parents displeased him and in addition he had issues with his father having another wife before meeting his mother.
In school Chris shared with few students but he gradually reduced interactions to be completely independent in class work and athletics. To him he needed freedom from people and luxurious wealth.
Krakauer connects Chris with Gene Rosellini, a well-educated man from an affluent family who was interested to know if it was possible to be independent of modern technology. (LarMache2010).
It is clear that MaCcandless did not feel safe at his home. Since he believed in perfection he felt that his parents had betrayed his values and was not ready to forgive them. He believed that the wealth of his parents was not justly acquired and there was no way he could be ready to accept it: “McCandless distrusted the value of things that came easily” (LaMarche 2010).
He therefore wanted to acquire everything justly. Unfortunately it reached a time when this man could not handle it any longer. He was ready to take even a risky route so as to escape from the sight of his parents. Aware that the decision he was about to make would put his life in danger; he did not stop it but went ahead to the wilderness.
His parents attempted to buy him a new vehicle but he looked down upon it, since he felt that it was unnecessary for him to have a second car whereas he had another functional datsun car. This is ironical that the people that he should have loved most are the ones he put at a bay and did all he could to separate himself from his family.
This coincides with the argument by Sarton: “Loneliness is most acutely felt with other people, for with others, even with a lover sometimes, we suffer from our differences of taste, temperament, and mood” (Sarton 1).
It is also clear that McCandless realized that he could not change anything and time was running out. He felt a stagnation that was brought by being at home. A new environment was therefore a better place for change that would give him satisfaction in his life. The feeling of stagnation was erased from his mind once he set off for the wilderness.
No man is an island and no one can be able to live alone and successful. The company of people mostly spices a person’s life. The young man finally perishes in the wilderness as there is no one to rescue him. His remains were found about a week later after his death weighing about 30 kilograms.
The young man only punished himself: “the fierce idealism and searing self-reliance are seen as unattainable qualities that are mysterious and wonderful, but frightening and dangerous all the same” (LaMarche 1). Though McCandless achieved his self reliability, it was unsustainable.
The inner person should never be ignored and personal world should be in order. The beliefs in McCandless’s heart were the driving forces to his actions. McCandless’s life was ruined by his parents since they did not play part to concentrate on his personality development as he grew up. They gauged his happiness by how much materials they bought for him, good education and spirituality, ignoring his inner motivation.
Adulthood. Predictable Crises of adulthood. Gail Sheehy, n.d. Web.
LaMarche. Into The Wild. Christophermccandless, 2010. Web.
Sarton, May. The Rewards of Living a Solitary Life. Gregory, n.d. Web.