Youth is a time that every person cherishes and missed once it is gone, and Krakauer uses the “youthful derring-do” as the cause behind McCandless’s “Alaskan odyssey. ” Krakauer argues that the reason why Chris went to such extreme measures was for soul searching and many other reasons, but more importantly, this would have never happened if it weren’t for Chris’s youth. Krakauer utilizes his own experiences from his youth to prove a point. He says “I knew that people sometimes climbed mountains.
But at the age of twenty-three, personal mortality-the idea of my own death-was still largely outside my conceptual grasp” (151). He argues that young people think that they are invincible when it comes to surviving in the world, but they realize how wrong they are once something happens to them, and that might be when it is too late. Young people are too innocent and naive to understand how life works, and Krakauer uses that argument to strengthen his opinion about the most important cause behind Chris’s odyssey.
I do believe that Chris being young plays a role in his decision to leave on the adventure, but it is certainly not the most important factor. In Krakauer’s Into the Wild, it is evident that he believes the cause behind McCandless’s “Alaskan Odyssey” is youth, which is partially correct; however it is crucial to recognize Chris’s journey was impelled by a combination of wanting to escape from society to pursue his passion for nature and being pressured by his family to chase different ambitions.
Society is a condition where people live in a community for their mutual benefit. McCandless fled from this condition; he did not receive benefits from his surroundings. The people in Chris’s society did not understand him because he had different theories and principles about life. A large part of our society is based on money and materialistic possessions. McCandless was disgusted at how materialistic our society is and therefore, he escaped this lifestyle for a while. It is evident that this is his belief according to what Jan Burres described.
She said when she tried to give him a little money for helping out at the swap meet, “he acted real offended ”(46). Chris was offended because getting paid meant that he was an employee, not just a friend who was helping out. He escaped from his customary life because people cared too much about how much money or luxury belongings they had. Chris just wanted to live life for what it really was, not what people made it out to be. He wanted to be surrounded by nature and all of the natural things that the earth has provided for us.
Chris clearly states his feelings about the government when he says, “How I feed myself is none of the government’s business. Fuck their stupid rules ” (6). Chris undoubtedly did not agree with the structured life that was provided for him, which caused things to be too repetitive. He wanted to go out and explore and experience life for himself. He needed an environment to act out his principles and ideas that he had kept all bottled up. Society did not allow him to be the individual that he wanted to be, so Chris escaped from society and pursued the “Alaskan odyssey.
Most people would not pursue the “Alaskan odyssey,” and that is because they do not have the passion for nature that Chris does. They would figure out their place in the world by chasing after something different, but for Chris it was the fascinating purity of nature. His goal was to find the theory of life in which to live by. This fascination was triggered at a very early age. At only eight years old, Chris went backpacking with his family in the wilderness. More importantly, he looked up to and admired his grandfather, Loren Johnson.
He too loved the wilderness and animals that lived there. Krakauer clearly states, “Chris adored his grandfather. The old man’s backwoods savvy, his affinity for the wilderness, left a deep impression on the boy” (109). This is part of the reason why Chris was so drawn to nature in the first place. Foreshadowing of Chris’s adventure took place long before he actually went through with it. As soon as he graduated from high school, Chris took a solo trip for the summer. Most students wouldn’t think to take a trip alone for that long; they would rather go with their friends.
Chris felt at peace with nature on a solo trip. He was free from distractions, letting his mind wonder freely. In “The Rewards of Living a Solitary Life,” Sarton points out that “with another human being present vision becomes double vision, inevitably…the original impact gets lost, or diffused” (90). McCandless just didn’t want to hear anyone’s opinions but his own. This is how he came up with very original, and rather innovative thoughts. For these reasons, McCandless chose the “Alaskan Odyssey” as the ultimate solo trip to prove his passion for nature.