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.