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Comparing the Film and Book: Into The Wild Essay


Into The Wild

The age old question remains, what in reality is better, the film interpretation of a book or the book itself? Now that by itself may lead up to numerous heated debates amongst individuals which may take a lifetime to possibly determine, although this can make for an interesting discussion well dwell further into that topic some other time and stick to the matter at hand for the sake of this assignment. But the reason I initially brought up that question was because prior to reading Jon Krakauers Into the Wild I had actually viewed the movie a couple times before and had instantly fallen in love with it. So when I found out wed be reading the actual novel I was fairly skeptical yet partially excited, because I thought thered be no possible way that the book would leave as much of a lasting impression on me as the film did, but on the other hand I figured how bad could the book be, considering the film was based off of the book. And with that I have to say I was fondly incorrect about my initial assumption and I couldnt be gladder because I ended up enjoying both the film and novel equally which almost never happens, well at least for me it doesnt. Now as far as getting into the nitty gritty of this paper Im going to initially discuss: what the events were which led Christopher McCandless to his idealistic path, why Christopher McCandless needed to experience the extremes of life as well as the extremes of the wild, what prevented Christopher McCandless from being able to experience emotional intimacy with others as well as within himself, and finally how I was actually affected by reading Christopher McCandless story?

If you were to get a group of people together who have actually read Jon Krakauers Into the Wild, and asked them which event or events may have led Christopher McCandless towards his idealistic path? You would probably get a plethora of different responses, since its not that easy to determine exactly what it was that pushed Christopher McCandless to the brink of his decision to do what it was that he did. Now as for me, I put a lot of thought into the course which Christopher McCandless chose to follow, and the conclusion I came up with for his choice was that he left because of his father! In my opinion, the turning point or the last straw for Christopher was when he discovered that his father was previously married and had a secret family which he was never aware of. Plus the fact that his mother and father constantly argued, yet perceived to the rest of the world that there was absolutely nothing wrong, and that they were the idealistic family which everyone thinks of when they imagine the perfect family: successful, happy, and secure. But Christopher knew that none of that was true, so he decided that he was sick of living a lie and pretending he was okay with it when he wasnt, so he left, and in the process denounced just about everything that in anyway made him resemble his father or his family all together, and took off on his journey to find himself.

In regards to why Christopher McCandless as well as the other explorers mentioned in the novel needed to experience the extremes of life and the extremes of the wild, is because they were in essence weary of the routine life which society precedes us to follow. They seemed to think that money, titles, and careers were all trivial and they couldnt stand the materialism which inevitably resulted from money. And it was with this hatred towards materialism and the genuine love for nature which launched them into the wild, in search of the truth and happiness. And within that process of discovery, they all realized that the final result would eventually lead them to freedom. And with that new found freedom which they were striving to achieve, their place in the universe would also be secured. And it was then and only then, when they would finally be one with the universe and one with themselves and accomplish becoming fully serene and content!

In attempting to come up with a possible response to what exactly prevented Christopher McCandless from experiencing emotional intimacy with others as well as within himself is a fairly tricky task. Now the most obvious conclusion most of us would draw in regards to Christophers inability to be emotionally available, would probably lead us back to his relationship with his family. He probably figured that if his own family; his own flesh and blood had the ability to betray him in the manner which they did, than what was to stop anyone else out in the world from doing the same if not worse. And its with that outlook towards the world that I think Christopher attained his inability to trust or deeply care for anyone else, because if he didnt care, then there would be no way that he could possibly be betrayed or ever hurt. My second notion of why I think Christopher was unable to have any sort of emotional intimacy with others was because I dont think he himself was fully aware or comfortable within his own skin in regards to his sexuality. Now the book doesnt state whether or not if Christopher McCandless was homosexual or not, but throughout the story you get a hunch that he doesnt really know which path he should take to find his common ground. And well if you cant figure out what it is that actually gives you emotional intimacy from someone of the opposite sex or even the same sex, then youre going to have a hell of an uphill climb trying to find out, and in that process you may never find emotional intimacy even within your own self.

As I was approaching the final few pages of this novel I couldnt help but feel partially saddened. Now it wasnt just because of Christopher McCandless unfortunate demise, but also because the adventure of a lifetime was finally screeching to its foreseeable conclusion. Personally, I have never felt much of a connection with any of the books or novels Ive read throughout the years, let alone a particular character, but in this instance with Christopher McCandless it was a completely different story all together. Now I cant sit here and say that my ideologies about society and nature are as extreme as Christopher McCandless, but I can say that there are several similarities between the two of us in regards to that. I also believe that we live in a materialistic world which is very unfortunate but its just a part of life that we have to deal with, but through Christophers accounts I now know that there are actually people out there who are in fact passionate enough to disregard the norms and go about doing things their own way rather than conforming. I also learned that we as citizens in a structured society have options, and that we dont necessarily have to follow what society tells us is right or wrong, but rather that we are in control of our own destinies and that only we can decide what path we want to follow, not the other way around. But within our pursuit of happiness we must never forget that happiness is only real when its shared, and that you will never come remotely close to anything like that in isolation!

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