McCandless’s Quest for Identity
This essay shows how Jon Krakauer as a young man lays focus on the main character’s quest for identity, in his book. The main character is Chris McCandless, who at nineteen is an exception as witnessed by his refusal, to accept what his parents support.
In desperation to disconnect from his parents in all channels provided to discover his soul, he distances himself psychologically, emotionally, and physically in the hope of attaining peace and freedom. He is willing to do anything not to follow the footsteps of his parents, even, with the moral certitude sense, not accepting the present with the conscious that his actions were hurting his friends. The essay is thus persuasive one that gives a backup in explaining the character of Chris McCandless and what leads to make this conclusion. Chris McCandless was a young man born in a well-off family. He studied in Emory University, which is one of the best institutions in the United States.
Despite this, he was not satisfied with this life and lacked knowledge of his existence. Thus, he contemplated to leave his own family, friends and society as a whole to know his true self, which according to his own knowledge was an essential part. His reasoning and critical thinking led him to conclude that he was not the person he was intended to be. It is clear from Krakaeur’s book that he was willing to sacrifice his own life to connect with his real being and self. He travelled all the way up to Alaska in an adventure of his own. After being alone in the wilderness for 119 days, he passed away because of starvation.
The life we are living is precious and is a God’s gift, we as human beings have given obligations we ought to fulfill in return. These obligations are respecting, obeying parents and giving protection and service to beloved countries. These obligations are all holy tasks established by the Creator. It is a fact that human beings undergo through some crisis and hardship in their lives. In spite of this, McCandless assumed these given obligations and went in pursuit of his own desires and thoughts. Thus, McCandless is portrayed as selfis despite his good character.
McCandless’s action is contrary to his good character. Although, he is kind filled with compassion, he has feelings of an obligation to help the less privileged in the society like the hungry and poor, “Why would a recent college graduate from an affluent family renounce his family and his friends and set off alone in the wilderness?”(Krakauer 3). Contrary to feeling a great obligation to honor his parents, he acts in such a way that hurt his family and friends. He felt he did not deserve the money and financial support from his parent. He thus opted to give out his savings that he mainly got from them to the less privileged.
According to him, his parents were selfish, inconsiderate, materialistic, and greedy. He was unable to forgive his parents for these features. This, in turn, influences the rest of his brief lifetime, making him separate from his friends and the society. This drives him to travel alone to the unknown wilderness. His feeling of contempt, towards his parents for their selfish act, made him go to the extreme of connecting with his self. He is pushed to travel by the unbearable disdain feelings he has towards his parents.
Given the fact he has just graduated, meaning he was to spend more time with parents, so he felt he would not take it anymore. Thus, he travels unprepared and separates himself from the materialistic parents. “McCandless hitchhiked to the Stampede Trail in Alaska, two years later, in April 1992. He had carried less than 10 pounds of rice and a small rifle” (Krakauer 4). McCandless was brought up in a well off family as seen earlier. This means he got everything that he wanted, a good education, good medical care and luxuries like driving his own car.
According to McCandless’s brother, their dad, Walter had remarried their mother. This was after divorcing Marcie who had other kids. At the time, his dad remarried, Chris was 7 years old and thus he was well of an age to see Marcie and her kids being abandoned by their dad who was his dad now. To make the matter worse, his mother before marrying his dad had occasionally reminnded him that the struggle of the family started when he was born. This made McCandless feel guilty for the family struggle before his parents married. So even after his parents’ marriage, he felt guilty coupled with remorse towards his parents for abandoning the other family of Marcie.
This went unnoticed till he began isolating himself from the society inclusive of his family, Emory students, and his friends. He then decided to trek solitary in the wilderness, where he felt he would complete his isolation. In spite of this, he at some point in the book, pleaded for his mother, to help him. The question is, “Was it his wish to isolate himself or was it a way of escaping?” The isolation was as a result of anger and betrayal he felt within. He was not able to bear it anymore and so he decided to go on escapade, to relieve it.
He feels those who cared about him were not caring enough. He felt his mother claim that his birth caused the family struggle, meant he was not meant to be born as he caused misfortune. Likewise, he felt he did not deserve the luxurious life he was living since the marriage between his parents caused the other family pain. He thus, condemned himself not aware of the kind of person, he was in reality. He pushed away those who cared and loved him. By condemning himself, he cared less of himself and so went into a dangerous journey.
In conclusion, given that most people view the wilderness as a particular place without the modern society evils, there is a point of which people get in touch with their soul and free themselves. Nevertheless, the truth is that life in the wilderness is much different from the notions of romance felt by the ones who have escaped to it. This much applies to McCandless who finds solitude in this wilderness. He perseveringly overcomes the hardship in the wildness as seen in the book. “June 9, 1992: McCandless kills a moose and takes a photo of him with the carcass. June 14, 1992: Discovering maggots on the carcass, abandons it to the local wolves” (Krakauer 9).
This disgust does not make him turn back home. He continues starving till he dies.