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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 KrakauerÆs 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, McCandlessÆ 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, ôI donÆt want to know what time it is. I donÆt want to know what day it is or where I am. None of that matters,ö (Krakauer, 7).

In Mark TwainÆs 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 abandons and define for himself his own values and customs in the American wilderness. While AlexÆs sacrifice is harsher than the one paid by Huck, this analysis will show that both Huck and AlexÆs journeys were motivated by their existence within a culture whose values and mores they rejected in favor of their own moral code.

To understand KrakauerÆs approach to the worldview of Chris McCandlessÆ value metamorphosis in Into the Wild, an explanation of the value metamorphos...

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Into the Wild: Christopher McCandless. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:56, February 22, 2017, from