Into the Wild: Depicting the Life of Christopher McCandless

From an adventurous to a sheer idiot, opinions varied about Christopher McCandless. In January 1993 Author Jon Krakauer published an article in Outside Magazine titled “Death of an Innocent”, in which he depicted the life of Christopher McCandless.

“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”


The above is McCandless’s logic. A 24 years old Emory University graduate, who decided to give up a relatively comfortable life and hitchhiked his way to Alaska in April 1992, resided in an abandoned bus near Mt. McKinley and wandered in the Alaskan wilderness adopting the name “Alexander Super tramp”.

Armored with his journal, basic supplies, and a field guide to the region’s edible plants McCandless survived in the wild for more than 100 days. Amidst his journey he eventually came to a conclusion that nature is never an eternal refuge and decided to get back to civilization, nevertheless he was forced back to his snow covered bus as the route was blocked by high water. Christopher McCandless partially decomposed body was found in September same year by moose hunters.

I have had a happy life and thank the Lord. Goodbye and may God bless all!-McCandless, final note.

Krakauer versus Penn:

Intrigued by McCandless’s experience, Jon Krakauer decided to take his published article a step further. He spent three years of background research and in 1996 he published his book “Into the Wild”. In the book Krakauer compares Christopher’s experience to other wilderness experiences and his own as well. Defending Christopher and presenting the circumstances that pushed the 24 years pal to cut off with his community; Krakauer relates Chris’s seclusion to his family, especially his demanding father who was a perfection freak.

About Chirs’s experience Krakauer says “He soon discovered, however, what Muir and Thoreau already knew: An extended stay in the wilderness inevitably directs one’s attention outward as much as inward, and it is impossible to live off the land without discovering both a subtle understanding of, and a strong emotional bond with, that land and all it holds”

Krakauer believes that away from a couple of fatal mistakes, McCandless would have been alive now.

In 2007 an adaptation of the biography written and directed by Sean Penn was released. In the movie Penn decided to take off Krakauer’s voice and stick to Chris’s story only. Penn’s approach was as well different from Krakauer’s “The interest I had in the story was predominantly what he was pursuing and not as much what he was fleeing“. When Penn first read the novel and approached the McCandless’s to get their approval Billie, Chirs’s mother said that she had a dream and her son is not ready yet to see a film of his life. However, after 10 years Penn received an approval call from the family and started working on the movie.

Penn’s movie is a masterpiece and totally motivating. It has been awarded The Golden Globe for the Best Original Song and nominated to the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and Best Film Editing.

Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 4:05 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. my comment has nothing to do with the post..but it’s the only way to tell u :

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY :)))))), saba7 el foll 😉

  2. Thanks ya Rain, enty gamila khales 😀
    saba7 el foll 😀

  3. I saw this movie a few months ago and ever since I can’t get it out of my head. It was fabulously done! I haven’t read the book but I hear it is wonderful as well. I am currently reading one of Krakauer’s other novels Into Thin Air. Krakauer is an amazing writer. I am excited to read some of his articles from the magazine. My Grandfather has a friend who lost their son in a retreat a while back and Krakauer did a story on them. When my Grandpa told me he got to meet him I was so jealous.

  4. Excellent site, keep up the good work

  5. its nice story about him… 🙂

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