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Isolation is the experience of being separated from others. It results from being physically separated from others, such as when a person lives in a remote area. Intimacy is important to one’s life as well, it is required to be able to bond and form important relationships. While fulfilling relationships lead to success, failure isolates a person and can result in feelings of loneliness. Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild portrays how a lack of intimacy and an abundance of isolation will result to depression and lack of fulfilment, which will ultimately result to the harshest punishment of death.
Isolation is demonstrated by describing how Chris’s relationship with his is dad obsolete, which will eventually lead to his journey to find fulfillment and peace in life. For example, Chris states “Alaska has long been a magnet for dreamers and misfits, people who think the unsullied enormity of the Last Frontier will patch all the holes in their lives. The bush is an unforgiving place, however, that cares nothing for hope or longing.” Chris is expressing that sometimes people think that connecting with nature will help bring out a new person in them; they think it will renew their lives and help them to better themselves. Alaska has had this effect on people for a long time and there are always people in every generation who think that Alaska will repair their life. In addition, Chris writes “Hey Guys! This is the last communication you shall receive from me. I now walk out to live amongst the wild. Take care, it was great knowing you. ALEXANDER”. As Chris travels he sends letters and postcards to people he met during his journey but he refers to these as his last letter which already demonstrates that he has no faith to survive. Chris has totally transformed himself into a solitary person ready to leave the world behind forever. Furthermore, Jon Krakauer believes “As a youth, I am told, I was willful, self-absorbed, intermittently reckless, moody. I disappointed my father in the usual ways. Like McCandless, figures of male authority aroused in me a confusing medley of corked fury and hunger to please. If something captured my undisciplined imagination, I pursued it with a zeal bordering on obsession, and from the age of seventeen until my late twenties that something was mountain climbing.” Jon Krakauer connects his own anger and desire for acceptance in Chris’s fate. The passage asserts a connection between Krakauer and McCandless upon which all of Into the Wild’s troubles and downfalls all relates back to finding happiness and loving relationships.
Intimacy is lost in Chris’s vision by illustrating the separation from Walt, Billie and the rest of humanity to be devastating eventually turning Chris an animal living on his own. For example, Krakauer explains Chris’s journey as “The trip was to be an odyssey in the fullest sense of the word, an epic journey that would change everything. McCandless had spent the previous four years, as he saw it, preparing to fulfill an absurd and onerous duty: to graduate from college. At long last he was unencumbered, emancipated from the stifling world of his parents and peers, a world of abstraction and security and material excess, a world in which he felt grievously cut off from the raw throb of existence”. With this, Krakauer attempts to step into McCandless’ shoes, explaining how ridiculous and tiresome college was. The reader could tell that Chris was eagerly anticipating this odyssey, or metamorphic adventure. Waiting for a drastic change in his life, McCandless yearned to be unencumbered, or free from the burden of reason, greed, and society. In addition, Chris tries to stay as isolated as possible demonstrated in “McCandless…relieved that he had again evaded the impending threat of human intimacy, of friendship, and all the messy emotional baggage that comes with it. He had fled the claustrophobic confines of his family. He’d successfully kept Jan Burres and Wayne Westerbergn at arm’s length, flitting out of their lives before anything was expected of him. And now he’d slipped painlessly out of Ron Franz’s life as well”. This passage illuminates McCandless’s deep problems with intimacy, which are very central in his ultimately fatal two-year quest for meaning and peace. During these two years, McCandless doesn’t contact his sister, with whom he was very close, and while he meets many people and becomes close to a few, he always makes sure to maintain a certain distance. Furthermore, Krakauer expands on his beliefs of Chris’s life by stating “Seven weeks after the body of his son turned up in Alaska wrapped in a blue sleeping bag that Billie had sewn for Chris from a kit, Walt studies a sailboat scudding beneath the window of his waterfront townhouse. ‘How is it,’ he wonders aloud as he gazes blankly across Chesapeake Bay, ‘that a kid with so much compassion could cause his parents so much pain”. This passage is emblematic of the problem at the core of McCandless’s story. From what Krakauer learns about him, he seems to have been a deeply compassionate person, and a significant part of his two-year quest was fueled by his sense of injustice at how selfishly and greedily most Americans lived.
In his novel Into the Wild Krakauer fully examines a lack of intimacy and an abundance of isolation results to lack of fulfilment, which will ultimately result in discontent in life. while Chris’s relationship with his dad has failed, and Intimacy is lost in Chris’s vision by separation from Walt, Billie and the rest of humanity. Which is what happens in the real world when a human is placed in quarantine and loses all humanity and human relations in life.
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