"McCandless tramped around the West for the next two months, spellbound by the scale and power of the landscape, thrilled by minor brushes with law, savoring the intermittent company of other vagabonds he met along the way."
This passage highlights what McCandless did after abandoning his car, and burning all of his money and before he leaves for Alaska. The way he chose to live during this time reveals that he changing as a person. For starters, McCandless begins only hitch-hiking to get from place to place. While this might just be because he no longer has a car, it also reveals something. It forces McCandless to meet new people and he begins to have to rely on the niceness of people. Whereas before (in college), McCandless had sort of grown a dislike of people, he grows to enjoy the company he meets while hitch-hiking around. It is obvious that the people McCandless meets during this period of time (Jan Burres, Ronald Franz ect) become a large part of his life and help shape him into a more caring person. During this two month period, McCandless gets a ticket from hitch-hiking (which he never pays) and sneaks in and out of the Mexican border (getting caught by immigration at one point.) These brushes with the law show that McCandless begins to reject many parts of society. He stops caring about laws and would rather just live his life. He also seems to enjoy rebelling against society by not obeying laws.This is something he would have never done when he was growing up. McCandless also chooses to go to places which he believes to be beautiful. He chooses to go to places he had never been before, just based on the fact that he developed a love for nature and wants to see everything he can before he heads to Alaska. It is clear the McCandless had grown an appreciation for the beauty in life.
I definitely like the observation about character development after his more important human interactions, which I totally agree with. We can definitely see that he's far more focused on rejecting society in an almost spiteful way, coming off as a bit judgmental to people that are content with living in the society that he's come to find so unpleasant. But I think that Ron Franz and Wayne Westerberg are really some of the first people that he'd ever had a genuine connection with. The sort of people that he could talk with about things that really, really mattered with him. After he really starts to see that people can be a lot less shallow than he originally thought, I feel like he's noticeably at least a bit more comfortable with urban life, or at least interacting with other people. In the end he ultimately rejects this life and ends up losing his own, but we can definitely see him focus more on being compassionate and positive about his goal than doing it for the sake of spiting society.
I agree with you as his travels progressed he became a lot more biased against the law. And as stated in the book he liked the little rough ups with the law. I agree that him learning to meet new people and converse with them added a new layer to him. I think that him learning that skill helped him get all the way to Alaska and help him enjoy more of his travels.
I agree with you as his travels progressed. Him learning that him learning that skill helped him get all the way to Alaska and help him enjoy more of his travels.
I've got quite a lot to say about Chris McCandless, but not really a broad enough of a topic to say everything that I'd want to, so I'll just keep this a bit short and sweet. I think that Chris' real purpose in burning every bridge behind him and looking forward to wander around North America in search of adventure is pretty well summarized in this passage that McCandless wrote himself. Or at least, a portion of a passage. “You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.” You could understand just about everything in Chris' motivations from this alone with a little context and digging. You can see that he was the romantic type, and didn't care much for practicality. If he did, he'd have kept his money and bought up all the supplies he could to go and live out in the wilderness safely. He would've prepared all he could. But this reckless, passionate man just abandoned everything to go and seek adventure and meaning wherever he could find it. You can really see a bit of his character development as he meets new people along his journey. He starts off completely isolated, caring only for living off the wild and occasionally hitch-hiking when he really needs it. Up until his return to America, there weren't many significant people that he'd met. But with Ron Franz, Wayne Westerberg, and other folks like that, you could see a sort of reluctance to leave here and there. I think that he'd get angry at them for asking to stay because that's really what he wanted to do, deep down, but didn't want to be held back from what he thought were the peak of human ideals and satisfying his wanderlust. Over and over, he'd have periods of long human contact where he touched so many people, only to abandon them at a drop of a hat to go and rediscover himself in nature, almost like washing his face with cold water to remind him of his ideals. He liked people too much, so he decided that the beauty of nature, that couldn't keep him held down, was more than enough to replace a meaningful chat with another human being. That really isn't a good or bad thing in my opinion, but something that he decided for himself. I certainly feel bad for the people that lost him after he met them and connected with him so well, but they're really the only ones that were hurt with his ideals, and none of them really blamed him. Well, of course, he was hurt by his own ideals too, taking on an adventure that he wasn't prepared for. When faced with his own mortality, he realized that he'd gone too far, and that willpower and romanticism could only take you so far. It was absolutely tragic to see. Frankly, I'm not even sure if I'm on the proper topic anymore, but I've written more than enough, so I can only hope that this is a sufficient response.
I liked the comment you made about the fact that Chris is always somewhat reluctant to leave his new friends after staying with them for a while. His overall goal is to make it in the Alaskan bush, but different things are calling him back to the real world, such as the people you mentioned. People treated him nicely and I think he almost regained his sense and went back to a normal life. Unfortunately his delusion progressed into a destructive decision that cost him his life.
Christopher McCandless's search for meaning through his travels is really intriguing to me. I connect with him in that I have a large appreciation for the wilderness and nature, but I could never bring myself to leave everything that I know behind and follow my own path all around the country. Chris has a certain confidence to him. He is very intent on doing what he wants to do when he wants to do it. I don't think that Chris found what he was looking for in the wild. He wanted pure freedom and lack of responsibility, but it ended with him dying alone in a bus in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like a great way to go out to me. I think Chris's goal was completely selfish. He basically ran away from his problems and attempted to forget about them by constantly changing the way he lives, his location, and the people he is with. I think he was having an early midlife crisis. Well, actually an end-of-life crisis if you think about it.
I totally agree with you that McCandless was selfish. Putting his friends and relatives through such pain and misery is awful. However, I do think that McCandless found what he was looking for in the wilderness because he showed a change of heart in Alaska and there was speculation that he would have come back to the lower forty eight and try to enter society again.
As said multiple times Chris McCandless is not cut from the same cloth as other people. This is displayed multiple times throughout his travels. To begin with he wants to live a life with literally no possession. This cuts any ties he has to the real world leaving him to really have the ability to create a philosophy of his own. Throughout "Into the Wild' he gets rid of things he does not need and burns his excess money multiple times. During his Alaska trip he takes barely enough just to get up to Alaska. He also likes to do things his way and do them boldly. As stated in his letter to Franz he states: "Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt." He means that to make something of your life you have to take risks and do things that you are not accustomed to. He shows this in his travels when he moves from town to town. His friends at the town will constantly try and convince him to stay bribing him with food, clothing and shelter. But due to Chris' philosophy he does not take the bribes and follows his own schedule all the way through Alaska. What all of this reveals about Chris McCandless is that he wants to be independent. He does not want other people to tell him what to do and how to do it. He wants to live life to the fullest under his guidance.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.