In the spring of 1992, a young man by the name Chris McCandless begun the most enduring and painful journey of his life into the Alaskan wilderness. He did not know of the dangers that lay ahead yet he proceeded on the death march in search of his own ideals. He was incredibly ill-prepared and uninformed on surviving in the bush, however, it was his inner conflicts that proved to be the fatal mistakes. First, despite strong opposition from friends and family, Chris wanted to live by his own moral code and didn’t want to be told what to do, showing his conflict with others. Next, Chris was unable to resolve conflicts within himself. Finally, his unsolved problems lead to his ultimate battle against nature. In Jon Krakauer’s, ‘Into the Wild’, Chris McCandless struggles with various conflicts that he fails to learn in time to save his own life.
To begin, McCandless experienced many conflicts with others. Throughout the novel, Chris has a difficult time communicating and getting along with others, particularly within his family. While growing up Chris didn’t agree with his family’s virtues of receiving a proper education and then working, as the societal norm. He didn’t believe in such strict ways of living, he wanted to be free, live a modest style of life, and live true to his own morals. In that sense, Chris felt as if his father was trying to control his life. The text states, “Given Walt’s need to exert control and Chris’s extravagantly independent nature, polarization was inevitable. Chris submitted to Walt’s authority through high school and college to a surprising degree, but the boy raged inwardly all the while”. Evidently, conflict was bound to arise as father and son held contradicting views. Furthermore, his relationship with his father was enflamed when Chris discovered that his father had another life with another family. From there on out Chris deemed his father a hypocrite and criticized his parent’s lifestyle. Chris even goes as far as saying he felt, “the tyranny of their conditional love” which he does escape by going into the wild. On his journey, Chris meets dozens of people, but again he never desires to establish a relationship with them. Because of this, he leaves Ronald Franz in the gloom when he leaves for the woods. His rejection for help or even advice from people looking out for his best interest is a determining factor in Chris’ death. McCandless’ oppositions with others through being rebellious lead to his inability to be properly prepared for the Alaskan wilderness.
Moreover, Chris’ battle with himself fueled his motivation to go into the wild. Chris was clearly emotionally torn by his relationship with his parents, the pressure of being a young adult, and all of the drama that comes with it. Whatever he does with his life, he doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of his parents who have, “twentieth-century inventions” as careers. It also troubles Chris of how materialistic his family is and how they don’t seem to care about issues that he does like hunger and poverty. Because of this McCandless is eager to separate himself not just from his family, but from society. This isn’t necessarily conflict with his family, but himself because what he sees in his family and society makes him yearn for his own individuality, and the only way he thinks that can happen is through isolation. In his letter to Ron he says, “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future”. As revealed, it is Chris’ conflict within himself that makes him want to go into nature, because he believes it is the only way he can fulfill his ideals. His inner conflict not only includes his passion to build life experiences but his desire to find his purpose. His philosophical approach leads him to believe that he can only find this purpose in nature, however, that’s where he must meet survival. McCandless’ struggle to find himself is what drives him towards nature and then his death.
Lastly, Chris McCandless’ fight with nature was one he could not win. When Chris first embarked on his journey, he had himself set for doom. He was both literally and mentally not prepared for the demands of nature.
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