John Krakauer, Into the Wild: Philosophical Journey or Suicidal Folly? Essay Sample

John Krakauer, Into the Wild: Philosophical Journey or Suicidal Folly? Pages
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Compared with oriental people’s implicit quest for freedom and truth, people in western countries are more direct which means that they pursue their goals through practice. The book, Into the Wild, tells a story about a guy who had a philosophical journey. The book shows a process of a person’s spiritual growth: from the yearning for the absolute freedom, a kind of irrepressible impulse and force, to the yearning for the happiness. Maybe, at beginning, what Chris McCandless pursuing was the happiness, but he hadn’t realized it yet. But finally, he realized it. The sad childhood experiences of Chris McCandless underwent caused a dark side in his heart. With these experiences, he actively started to seek the significance of his life and to pursue the essence of happiness. At first, he thought that if he escaped from the hypocritical society he would gain freedom and the life he hoped. Therefore, he continued to seek broad natural space which was not bounded by social rules. “McCandless was thrilled to be on his way north, and he was relieved as well—relieved that he had again evaded the impending threat of human intimacy, of friendship, and all the messy emotional baggage that comes with it” (55). The reason why he abandoned all these things is because he wanted to pursue absolute freedom.

Logically, however, it is impossible. People are related to the society since being born, and they can merely survive without connecting to the society and get necessary resources from it. We must depend on our society. Therefore, as the quotation describes, in other words, what Chris did was to escape from the society, the social law, the restriction of social responsibility, and the hypocritical relationship with people. He abandoned his old car, burned cash, and started on his exploration on foot. “I don’t need money. Make people caution. Rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness, give me truth.”(Movie). During that time, he felt confused. Although seemed to understand, yet just only half-comprehended Thoreau’s poetry, one of the books he brought with hin during his journey. As Thoreau wrote in his book Walden, “I went to the woods because I whished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not ,when I came to die, to discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.”(68-69).

This indicate that Chris wanted to follow the Thoreau, and to experience the essence of life by living in the wild. Nevertheless, while Chris was in the wild, he gradually felt contradictory. On one hand, he liked to feel the nature; on the other hand, he also wanted to go back to the city. But the strong desire for freedom and for living in nature let him suppress these hesitate. Chris was influenced by Thoreau and Jack London, especially by Jack’s saying: “The proper function of man is to live, but not to exist.” (Movie). Chris used his experience to prove their thinking, and this was the starting of an open mind. As the author, Krakauer, described, “A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream” (142), when he was on top of Devils Thumb, the mountain Chris climbed, he felt extremely comfortable and relaxed. The feeling and the environment was so overwhelming that it forced him to rethink what he was really looking for. Traveling all the way, he met all kinds of people, and some of them gave him a sense of family.

Among them, Ron played an important role in his life. He gave Chris an inspiration, which let him know what the happiness really was even though Chris did not appreciate it right away. After leaving Ron, Chris broke all the connection with other people, which created more time to think about himself and the purpose of this journey. “Two years he walks the earth, no phone, no pool, no pets, and no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist, an aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou shalt not return, ‘cause “the West is the best.” 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.”(163). this is the feeling of McCandless after he spent about two years in the wild. He was clearly proud of himself, and proud of what he had accomplished, and that was the happiness, a sublimation of spirit.

After all of these, Chris realized that what he really wanted was not the absolute freedom nut happiness. In the days of living in wild, he recorded his life, his experiences, including carving the wood. All the things that he did were just used to prove the value of himself and to leave a message for others. It is a horrible thing that leaves nothing for the society, which seems like that you have never existed. People alive always want to pursue happiness. However , happiness comes from someone who shares your value. At the end of the book, the author reveals a common but profound philosophical theory, “happiness only real when shared” (189). The only way to be happy is to share. As what the movie described in the end, at the moment when Chris was going to die, he saw the sun, and the tears of happiness filled with his eyes because he realized the truth of happiness finally. Vocabulary development

1. Thrilled—adj. feeling intense pleasurable excitement. The majesty of the occasion thrilled us all.
2. Emotional—adj. determined or actuated by emotion rat her than reason. Emotional people don’t stop to calculate.
3. Climactic—adj. Consisting of or causing a climax.
He is in the climatic moments of his career.

Work cited

1). John Krakauer. Into the wild. Gradesaver LLC published, Decembre 10, 2009. printed. 2). Henry David Thoreau . Walden, or, Life in the Woods ; The Maine Woods ; Edited by Robert F. Sayre. PDF.

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