In Into the Wild, if you could speak for McCandless, what would you have to say to his biographer and his parents?In Into the Wild, if you could speak for McCandless, what would you have to say to...

In Into the Wild, if you could speak for McCandless, what would you have to say to his biographer and his parents?

In Into the Wild, if you could speak for McCandless, what would you have to say to his biographer and his parents?

Asked on by zachris24

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Wisdom is a thing hard wrung from life's illusions. It seems that it would be appropriate to say that McCandless has found some droplets of wisdom as he faced the consequences of inexperience and beguiling zeal. It also seems appropriate to say that McCandless placed his benediction on the short and somewhat foolhardy story of his life and along with it a blessing on those from whom he estranged himself. It's a hard thing to face the ineffable consequences of an error, especially one made out of naivete, gullibility and inexperience.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Very interesting question! I think what struck me when I read the book, apart from its obvious brilliance and how fascinating it was, was that I left it with the feeling that Chris was actually strangely happy at the end of his life. Note what the author tells us about what he infers from the final photograph Chris took of himself before dying:

But if he pitied himself in those last difficult hours--because he was so young, because he was alone, because his body had betrayed him and his will had let him down--its not apparent from the photograph. He is smiling in the picture, and there is no mistaking the look in his eyes: Chris McCandless was at peace, serene as a monk gone to God.

In addition, the author cites accounts from others who have been brought back to life from the edge of starvation, who say that towards the end, the terrible pain is replaced by a "sublime euphoria." Perhaps we can conclude from this that Chris attained the kind of state that he was trying to achieve in his life in his last few moments on earth. This leads me to conclude that if he could address his parents and the author, he would not be angry or resentful, but would express the same kind of sentiments as he did in his final note. He had obviously moved beyond such ephemeral human emotions as despair, rage and anger, and I think that anything he would say would reflect this.

Thus I think he would probably forgive his parents for what they had done, an apologise for his own role in their poor relationship. He would also probably find a soulmate in the author, because both demonstrated a similar Emersonian transcendental desire to embrace nature.

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