Why did Chris McCandless go into the wild?

Why did Chris McCandless go into the wild? He was young, he wanted adventure, and he wanted to get away from materialistic things, but what are some more detailed reasons?

While it is impossible to know exactly why Chris McCandless went into the wild, in a letter to Ron Franz, it is clear that McCandless desired and sought never-ending adventure and new experiences and believed that the abandonment of security would lead to true happiness.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The two reasons that you have listed are good reasons for why Chris McCandless wanted to go out into the wilderness. Keep in mind that McCandless's passion to be out in the wilderness did end up killing him; however, he also managed to survive living in the wild for quite some time before he even began his Alaskan debacle. McCandless passed away during the trip, so Krakauer couldn't ask him why he chose to live like that. Readers are left to come up with our own reasons, but McCandless's letter to Franz is really good support of the two reasons that your question has already listed.

The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.

Notice how McCandless emphasizes the passionate pursuit of adventure. He longs for the endlessly changing horizon. McCandless continues his letter...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1060 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team