Into The Wild Essay
Into The Wild
Into the Wild is the true story of Chris McCandless, an unrealistic risk-taker who died in Alaska near Denali National Park after hiking alone unprepared. Journalist Jon Krakauer wrote this story as one of courage; however, many Alaskans considered it one of arrogance and foolish self-absorption. Chris grew up in wealthy Annandale, Virginia, his parents both successful federal consultants. Strong-willed and intensely idealistic, he amassed physical skills as if training to become Superman. As captain of the high school cross-country team, he drove them as “Road Warriors” in overly demanding training.
Disenchanted with Annandale materialism, Chris dropped out of society, refusing to become a cog in a societal machine and feeling that man can live without machines and society. He declined Phi Beta Kappa membership, named himself Alexander Supertramp and went to Alaska. Influenced by London and Thoreau, he planned to live outdoors by his wits, not learning anything about Alaska first (he felt he knew enough). Because of the amount of corruption in US society and the dishonest dealings I’ve seen in every job I have ever worked, I want to drop out like Chris.
However, Chris’s grandiose self-image overtook his idealism, preventing him from thinking to prepare for an Alaskan adventure. He committed suicide by stupidity, because he was educated enough to know to prepare himself. He died just 20 miles from the Parks Highway in the summertime, because he had no map or compass. I feel that technology is full of tool that I can use, and I will run it, but not allow it to run me or allow others to run me into the ground in a meaningless job that uses technology.
Thus, I would use technology to prepare myself to live well without the stress, via telecommuting perhaps. Ray Krok ruined this nation with his “fast food” mentality in which you hire people at minimum wage, run them as hard as you can, and fire them when they get tired. I saw that my first day on a job at McDonalds and that changed my life forever. That mentality is now everywhere in the workplace. I want to drop out of this society, but I will use technology to do so, not walk into a wilderness unprepared. The internet and libraries house anything I want to learn, and I will do so.
Chris was not able to form long-term relationships. He hated his parents for being cogs in the federal machine, and rejected advice and offers of supplies from Alaskan friends. This resulted in a lonely, painful, and preventable death. However, I am will not repeat his mistakes. Chris had assumed he could forage for food and hunt game forever, but decided to leave. However, he found his trail blocked by the rushing Teklanika River in its summer cycle. He could have found that out at the library. His body was found in the sleeping bag his mother made.
Krakauer believes Chris died from eating the wild potato seeds that contain an alkaloid that prevents the body from using much-needed glucose. Had he prepared himself with research, he could have survived. Instead, he wasted not only a moose he shot and could not use, but also his own life, and hurt his friends and family by rejecting them. Using technology today, I feel this is not necessary. I can work alone on a computer and relate to others with a cell phone or on the internet, so I can drop in and out almost at will and I will be satisfied with that.
Jon Krakauer, Jon. Into The Wild. Anchor. 1997.