Reckless People


Reckless People Essay, Research Paper

Into the wild is more morbidly fascinating than anything else. It is a journey into the psyche of a young man who, with seemingly all of the advantages that late Twentieth Century America can arm one with, decides to disappear into the flotsam of the country playing the part of an enlightened hobo (he takes the moniker ‘Supertramp’ as a way to christen his new identity). When I read I this book I was infuriated with Chris McCandless. It is normal to want to create a reality where it is you versus them. Who wants to work forty plus hours a week for a boss who would just as soon fire you so that he or she could keep their indoor pool heated during the winter? Who would want that really? No one. But that is where discipline comes in. This is what Chris lacked…” I went on and on this tangent. And for the most part I believed it. I honestly felt that Chris was a coward and an egotist. Chris McClandiss is thought by some to be an idealistic reckless youth.

First off all, Why, I asked, would Chris take photos of himself if he planned to rough it for the sake of roughing it? Are photos not for the benefit of others to shuffle through while nodding in amazement? “You really killed a moose and ate it? Wow!” I saw Chris as a poseur. Chris’ death is tragic and there is considerable talk of the waste of potential due to a ‘lack of respect for the power of mother nature.’ Perhaps this is true (McNamee). Perhaps if Chris emerged from those woods, gaunt, weakened, and wise, he would write a great American novel that would touch the masses and remind us all of our connection to the land. Most likely Chris would leave the woods and write a book, as his expressed an intent to do, that would be published by a small press and read only by his close friends and family. Chris would continue his pattern of a few months in society followed by an exodus into the unknown. His amazing tales would be told over beers and a dishful of nuts but the rest of us would never know of Alex Supertramp. Chris died and that is what gives his story the emotion that makes a bestseller. And being a bestseller, we are here talking about it. And because we talk, some of us will learn. And that is the point, isn’t it? Yes, it is safer to live by the rules our fathers and mothers laid down (a reader). Yes, it is wiser to wait until your body and mind are strong enough for a challenge until you drop yourself into it. But for some people, people like Chris; to live by the rules is a slow and painful death. Chris lived the life he loved and died for it.

Second of all, McClandiss is thought by some to be an idealistic reckless youth. He seems to be searching for the truth and reality of his humanity, “to kill the false beast within.” McClandiss’s decisions are based on his revolt against the excessiveness of American Society. Others fulminated that he was a reckless idiots, a wacko, a narcissist who perished out of arrogance and stupidity- and was undeserving of the considerable media attention he received (Krakauer 3). He is a later version of what the Hippies attempted when they left middle class society to live off the land. McClandiss said that he hoped to, “fix all that was wrong with my life.” When he is found frozen to death in an old bus no one is certain if his death was intentional or a mistake (Smith). A person like Chris McCandless who has everything in the world is still unsatisfied on what is around him. He has family, money and a great education that will soon be his great future but he thinks that everything related to wealth is sinful. Chris made a journey to search for the true meaning of life and escaped it pressures. He also tried to travel by using his instincts in life by living naturally without other’s aide. Whereas he helped people suffering of hunger by donating all of his college money, he forgot to help himself. Chris called himself “Supertramp” which is ironic to the fact that he didn’t survive nature’s forces. Even though he died in his final destination, he finally realized that he fulfilled something, to have freedom from everything. Chris? attitude can be seen in the teens searching for the meaning of life, taking risks, rebelling to authority and not thinking of what lies ahead.

In conclusion, I felt terrible for the family he neglected for his own selfish reasons, as there was no apparent need for him to totally divorce himself from those that loved him. McCandless’ wish to be one with nature and to “rough it” isn’t a lifestyle that necessarily precluded calling home every once and a while, especially since he’d occasionally return to civilization to work. His adventure was more foolish and dangerous than brave (he perished only a few miles from civilization), and his journals accounts are scant and don’t have much to say. The author was obviously very interested in Chris McCandless’ story, and seems to have done his homework, but there just isn’t much there for an interesting read. In fact, because there was so little by way of journal entries, the best the author can come up with instead is relating passages of books McCandless was reading that he underlined or highlighted (!). Sorry folks- this guy just wasn’t as deep as everyone wants to believe he was. In my opinion, the history of McCandless tells only one think. He was a basket case and completely lost. I don?t care about what were his ideas, his dreams. You just don?t throw your life away, like he did, with no reason at all. It?s not right!

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