Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Famous Writers in Into the Wild

Leo Tolstoy was an author in the late 1800s. Some of his most famous book are Anna Karenina, War and Peace, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich. He is quoted at the beginning of chapter three, "Carthage". He said, "I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life." This relates to the way Chris McCandless lived and his outlook on life because Chris wanted the same thing. He did not want to be tied down to one place or to people, which is why he was so afraid of close relationships.


Henry David Thoreau was also a writer in the 1800s. His most famous works are Walden and Civil Disobedience. A quote from Walden is at the beginning of chapter six, "Anza-Borrego." He stated, "No man ever followed his genius till it misled him. Though the result were bodily weakness, yet perhaps no one can say that they consequences were to be regretted, for these were a life in conformity to higher principles." This relates to McCandless in the way that he would not conform to modern society. He lived the way he wanted despite the consequences. He is also quoted at the beginning of chapter twelve, "Annandale" when he said "Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth." This relates to McCandless in that he wanted to find the truth in the world and live by that truth.


Mark Twain, a writer in the late 1800s, is most famous for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He is quoted at the beginning of chapter seven, "Carthage." In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn he said, "There was some books... One was Pilgrim's Progress, about a man that left his family, it didn't say why." This is exactly what McCandless did. He left his family and did not tell any of them or tell them why. Mark Twain is also similar to McCandless in that he changed his name from Samuel Clemens to Mark Twain and Chris McCandless changed his name to Alex Supertramp.


Bob Dylan once said, "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."
Chris would like this quote because it is exactly how he lived his life, the way he wanted.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Changing Reality

Wallace Stegner stated, "What Everett Ruess was after was beauty, and he conceived beauty in pretty romantic terms." He described the reason behind the adventure of Everett Ruess as a single-minded search for the true beauty in the world. He wanted to escape from reality, in a similar way that Chris McCandless did. Although they both paid the price of death, they came to this fate doing what they wanted to do with their lives: escape reality and travel into their own world.

Ruess' and McCandless' adventures were worth it because they lived the latter portion of their lives the way the wanted to, abiding by their own rules. They both lived in relative solitude, but they enjoyed it. They loved becoming part of the natural world and living on the land as much as they could.
Both of these men were escaping society and the reality of everyday life. The aspects of everyday life were different when Ruess was alive, when McCandless was alive, and even now. Today you could be escaping your family, friends, or peers. You could be escaping the technology of today and how it controls some people lives. Taking time to forget about these things and leave all of your responsibilities behind is important for your mental and emotional health.
I however would not be able to escape these realities for the length of time that these former adventurers did. I could escape them for a few hours, days, or maybe even weeks, but not for months and years at a time. I would miss spending time with my family and friends. I think the solitude and loneliness would drive me crazy. I would also miss being able to have instant contact with people anytime I wanted. This goes hand in hand with the relationships I have that I would be leaving.
Although Ruess and McCandless survived like this, it is not a life everyone can endure. You need to be street smart and know things about the natural world. It is a very bold lifestyle for anyone, but people that live the way McCandless did often thrive in that environment in a different way than they did, or seemed to in the modern environment. They changed their reality into something they wanted, which is a truly admirable feat.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Zion National Park

If I could go anywhere in the United States, I would go to Zion National Park. Zion National Park has massive sandstone cliffs that line the sky and a great diversity of plants and animals. The weather in Zion can range from a low of 50ºF in the winter to a high of 90ºF in the summer.  I would fly into the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, and drive into Zion. In Zion National Park, I would hike many of the cliffs, including Angels Landing. I would also like to camp their and go whitewater rafting. Zion National Park would be a fun and relaxing place to go on vacation.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

John Krakauer

Jon Krakauer was born in 1954 in Corvallis, Oregon. He graduated from Hampshire College in 1976. After graduating, he moved between Colorado, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest working as a carpenter and a commercial salmon fisherman. He developed a love for climbing mountains which led him to climbing Mount Everest in 1996. While climbing, a storm killed four of his five teammates who had reached the summit with him. He wrote an article for Outside magazine about the climb and received a national magazine award. Following this he wrote a novel about the tragedy called Into Thin Air, which was a New York Times Bestseller. Krakauer also wrote the novel Into the Wild about a man who survived in the Alaskan wilderness for 119, which was on the best seller list for two years. His writings have been published in Outside, GQ, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and more. In 1997 he received the Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism for an article he wrote for Smithsonian on volcanology. In 2003 he published, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, in 2009 Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, and in 2011, Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost his Way. 

Into the Wild Summary

Into the Wild by John Krakauer is a novel based on the journey of Christopher Johnson McCandless. After graduating from Emory University in 1990, McCandless began a two year trek across the United States to Alaska. He survived 119 days in Alaska with only what he could find in the wilderness, 10 pounds of rice, a .22 caliber rifle, rifle rounds, a camera, and a few books. On his journey he took the name Alexander Supertramp and spent time in South Dakota working on a grain elevator before hitchhiking to Alaska. He was found dead on September 6, 1992 in a bus he had been camping in. In the novel, Krakauer analyzes McCandless' journey and relates it to historical events, his own life, and famous authors.