What Was Chris Mccandless Seeking In The Wilderness

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slcollins | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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A number of elements come together to provide Chris's purpose for walking into the wild. Much of his motivation was related to his parents and the resentment he harbored toward both of them. He disliked their materialistic life and disliked it even more when they tried to force that materialism onto him, as evidenced with his reaction to the car they want to buy him. He also harbors even more deep-seated hatred for his father after finding out about the double life Walt McCandless had led. That's part of the motivation. Another part of the motivation was his love for literature. He seemed to be trying to follow in the footsteps of some of the authors he idolized, like Thoreau and London. His Alaskan adventure seemed driven, in part, by Jack London's Call of the Wild. This is oddly ironic, though, because he idolized a fictional narrative so much that he thought he might be able to live it. Did he find what he was looking for? Hard to say since we don't know exactly what he was looking for; most of the above are inferences. He certainly came to some realizations on his Alaskan adventure; he came to understand that happiness is only real when shared with others, which prompted his failed attempt at coming back into society.


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