McCandless's life "hummed with meaning, but the meaning he wrested from existence lay beyond the comfortable path." Do you agree?

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Yes, Chris McCandless found enormous meaning and satisfaction by living life unconventionally and following a less comfortable path than the average person. He rejected going immediately to law school, as his parents would have liked, and gave the money he had inherited—that his parents hoped would finance law school—to Oxfam. He even burned his cash.

He wanted to make his own way in the world and face reality in the manner of Thoreau or Tolstoy: through living a life stripped of most material possessions. Instead of a cushy time in law school, he worked hard at minimum-wage jobs, such as at McDonald's or working on a farm. He often moved around, hitchhiking from place to place.

Krakauer quotes James Joyce in describing McCandless as joyful and fulfilled with his life on the road:

He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life

McCandless himself, even when he knew he was near death, attested to his own sense of gratitude and fulfillment, writing:


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I do agree.  In Chapter 17, the author goes on to explain that McCandless distrusted things that came easily, demanding "much of himself - more, in the end, than he could deliver".  McCandless wasn't a philosopher despondent over the meaningless of life.  Although he rejected the traditional lifestyle and values espoused by his parents and society, he found meaning in his journey, in his challenge to himself to live on his own in the wild.  He was living his dream, and so his life really did "hum with meaning", and as his last messages evidence, he did find peace and fulfillment.  He was, however, unable to physically survive the rigors of the challenge.

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