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Why do we fit in? humans go to extreme lengths to feel socially accepted. The current era’s main goal is to be seen as rich, intelligent, and popular. The protagonist, Chris Mccandless manifests the idea of freedom being more important to him than the other factors society sees as socially normal. Chris Mccandless graduated top in his class academically, collected significant accolades from Track and Field that could not be beaten for years to come and from a family perspective had one of the wealthiest families in the city he lived in. Into the Wild written by Jon Krakauer portrays the story of a young adult that once had everything society wanted and dropped it to obtain real freedom and liberty. Chris McCandless born in California left everything behind to travel to Alaska and live freely in the mountains. Into the Wild by John Kruaker displays one universal theme throughout the text which can be seen as Freedom with the help of repetition, flashbacks and logos to further the theme.
Chris Mccandless loved knowledge. He enrolled in several courses ranging from Political courses to religion classes. He observed and studied many authors named by Leo Tolstoy, Jack London, and Henry Thoreau. These authors spread awareness and wisdom through their books. Evidently, “move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon”. Following routines and repeatedly doing the causes of the same actions makes humans comfortable and not go out and experience the freedoms they are given. Chris sees this as a chance to really experience what the world has to offer him. Chris expresses multiple occasions in his journal that traveling and having freedom gives more of a thrill and spine chilling feeling than being content and satisfied with everyday life. In addition, “The very core of man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure”. Happiness derives from new experiences the human encounters in their lifetime, new experiences and situations are presented each and every day. These encounters produce happiness and change that are only brought from adventuring. Chris lived and died by this sentence. He was not content with the social norms that he was presented with on a daily basis. Chris felt that the repetition of encounters brought him sadness and emptiness.
Logos, Jon Krauker uses this literary element to show the reasoning behind every decision Chris decided. Many believe that Chris Mccandless’s decisions were stupid and immature for him to a perfect life behind to go live a flawed lifestyle that society viewed as poor or even a homeless lifestyle. Evidently, “My father was a volatile, extremely complicated person, possessed of a brash demeanor that masked deep insecurities,”. Mr. Mccandless hid his deepest insecurities in order to achieve the social status of ‘rich”. Chris saw this lifestyle as morally wrong and unacceptable, He did not want to live the life of having to fake it to make it in society. There were other factors that tempted him more and more to leave his lifestyle that he once lived. Another significant reason that Chris saw as a temptation to escape society’s views to obtain freedom was “Mr. Franz, I think careers are a 20th-century invention and I don’t want one.”The norm to be successful by working a job was not any intention Chris had. This idea was limiting his freedom and any limitation of freedom for Chris was inferior to his beliefs. Krauker displays Chris’s social status to prove these were real experiences “I have a college education. I’m not destitute. I’m living like this by choice.” (Krakauer 65). This indeed explains to the readers that he is not living poorly and under equipped for his adventure because he can not afford or has no other option but to seek this adventure. This purely shows logos to give reasoning and logic to his decisions. Krauker gives the thought that having a good education and job is very important to thrive in a society that is against Chris’s beliefs and thoughts of freedom.
Krauker uses the repetition of words and ideas to exemplify the actions and effects that Chris committed throughout his memorable lifetime. Krauker repeats the idea that every action he did was correct and thought through when some people believe that he was too young and misguided throughout his lifetime. Krauker presents this idea of repetition in multiple places in the book such as “ Chris would use the spiritual aspect to try to motivate us,’ recalls Eric Hathaway, another friend on the team”. Krauker uses other characters to prove the point that Chris’s decisions were correct and the best chance to live out his dream of achieving freedom and liberty. These friends that he chose to interview were close friends and would provide the best background information that would only be positive notions. This repetition causes the reader to become biased and believe that he did everything correct instead of logically thinking about his decisions and being an outsider viewing in. In addition, Kruaker brings up the words “happy” “free” and “experiences’ ‘. These words were displayed multiple times to show the significance they had behind Chris’s notions and feelings. Furthermore “It is the experiences, the memories, the great triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found. God, it’s great to be alive! Thank you. Thank you.” The first three things quoted by Chris were memories, experiences, and joy which can also be inferred as happiness. This whole concept was to show the reader that this dedication he committed to achieving freedom was worth it and if he did have a chance he would do it all over again. Krauker picks these quotes specifically in order to keep Chris under the spotlight of being a happy and goodhearted protagonist for the readers to glorify or feel saddened by his death.
Flashbacks can bring beautiful or frightening memories for people. Flashbacks in Into the Wild are mixed when they are presented by Krauker. At the beginning of the book, it tells the ending of the story which in this case is Alaska, Chris’s death place. “S.O.S. I need your help. I am injured, near death, and too weak to hike out of here. I am all alone, this is NO JOKE. In the name of God, please remain to save me. I am out collecting berries close by and shall return this evening. Thank you, Chris McCandless. August?” Chris was at his final moments of death because of the fact that he eaten poisonous berries that slowly began contaminating his insides. The last moments the text shows that he was begging for help, but a crucial sentence in the quote is that he was out collecting berries. Chris collecting berries expresses the freedom he was having and the new experience of providing for himself rather than having supermarkets prepare for him. This flashback allowed to show that he did indeed spend the last moments of his life free as can be. Chris is living out of an abandoned bus that he placed the note on. Krauker shows another flashback in chapter one where he has his last encounter with a human. This human explains to him that he is under-equipped and under-geared for the Alaskan weather, but Chris does not pay attention and flees into the wild.
We fit in because humans are scared of being an outsider. Since birth, the main goal is to become popular and be successful no matter the situations you endured your whole life. The problems, depression, and any other sorts of mental health issues are not important until you gain the status of fitting in. Society did indeed not fit Chris’s views, this is why he was released into the wild. Kruakers literary elements and universal theme clearly portrays the freeness Chris endured through his hitchhike to Alaska. He survived for 114 days until he eventually was poisoned to death from the berries.
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