‘S Discuss McCandless’ background/privilege. How or why he left it behind In life, for some people, material things are irrelevant in finding fulfillment of life. While most people put so much focus on gaining wealth, it does not always result to happiness one had tenvisioned and one that an individual would want to experience. Unless an individual realizes his/her true self, there will always be a vacuum in their desires. through john krakauers character from the book, into the wild, Christopher McCandless, I will show that though people might have been brought up in a well to do family background, the need for discovering themselves and the need for their individual reliance on themselves leads them from the usual comfort zone of their family, friends and school to dangerous and even life threatening situations. a person who leaves all his life behind to go into the wilderness like Christopher McCandless did is not necessarily out of his mind, as krakauer tells us”…he wasn’t a nutcase, he wasn’t a sociopath, he wasn’t an outcast. McCandless was something else – -although precisely what is hard to say” (Krakauer 85).
Through john krauker’s book, into the wild, we get to know more about the main character of the book, Christopher McCandless, and his family, financial and educational background. From when the book begins, John Krauker gives a deep insight into the inner influences that caused Christopher McCandless to do what he did later (going into the wild)
Mr. Walter McCandless, Christopher McCandless dad and Mrs. Wilhelmina Johnson, Christopher’s’ mom, were parents in the upper middle class society. They were able to provide for their family financially from their well paying careers. Christopher was a bright student in academics and a good athlete.
Christopher McCandless had an estranged relationship with his father particularly after discovering that Mr. Walter McCandless had another family before he married Christopher’s mom. Krakauer shows this through this text “Children can be harsh judges when it comes to their parents, disinclined to grant clemency and this was especially true in Chris’s case. More even than most teens, he tended to see things in black and white” (Krakauer 122). However, Christopher was very close to his sister, mccandless. In addition, it seems the more the siblings became close, the more Christopher grew apart from his folks.
It is true to say that Christopher McCandless’ background was at the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. His family had basic needs of food and housing, safety needs as their financial security, social needs as mccandless was social as portrayed by john krauker ‘He needed his solitude at times, but he wasn’t a hermit. He did a lot of socializing. All that remained in McCandless view was to self-actualization, which is the final level of the hierarchy of needs.
Christopher McCandless was highly influenced by the writings of Jack London who described about living an immaterial life .Leo Tolstoy also influenced him in that, the former admired the liters courage to give up his wealthy life and his choice of living among those who were of lower level status. The writings of these two authors among others played an important role in convincing mccandless that living his middle upper class home and family to find inner piece and undiluted truth was the right way.
McCandless belief was that people should not be judged by their wealth but by what they believe in, hence, he was not proud of his wealthy background. “wealth was shameful, corrupting, and inherently evil” (Krakauer 115) with this, he showed that wealth to him was not all a person needed to be himself or herself.
McCandless left his middle upper class home in Virginia right after graduating, without informing anyone, he believed that if he told anyone, they would try to block him from going away. He donated all his money to charity before he set of for his solo journey into the Alaskan wilderness. He never bothered to carry some essential hiking equipment like a compass; he threw away his map at a certain point in his journey.
Christopher McCandless changed his name to Alexander Supertramp, this is an indicator that he was serious on leaving his past behind and somehow living life in nature as a new individual.
At the end of his life, mccandless finds what he was looking for. This is evident in a final writing on the back of a postcard reading, “I have had a happy life and thank the Lord. Goodbye and May God bless all!”
John Krakauer. In the wild. US: Villard, 1996, print
Jack London. The call of the wild. Canada: Macmillan, 1903, print
William H. Davies. The autobiography of a Supertramp. London: A.C. Fifield