Into the Wild: Christopher McCandless

 
 
 
 
Those who reject materialism and embrace nature are in the minority these days. In past eras, men like Henry David Thoreau and Mark Twain did so and men like George Orwell and Burrhus Frederick Skinner warned of the dangers in not doing so. In Jon Krakauer's account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, a white college graduate of upper middle-class background, we see that McCandless wholeheartedly rejected materialism and contemporary society and its values, including his family and friends, for his own existence defined in nature. In Into the Wild, Krakauer takes us on the unique and daring, if foolhardy, transformation of McCandless from successful college graduate to a man living off the wilderness with a sack of rice, some borrowed work boots, a rifle and some film. Rechristening himself Alex Supertramp, McCandless' journey into the Alaska wilderness would result in his death. Before he died; however, he lived a life defined on his own terms and through his own values not those of society. As Alex said to one individual who attempted to give him a watch, "I don't want to know what time it is. I don't want to know what day it is or where I am. None of that matters," (Krakauer, 7).

In Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, Huck Finn experiences a value transformation that goes against society and results in some significant sacrifices for him. In a similar vein, Alex Supertramp must reject the values and customs of the society he

     
 
 
 
    

 

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