Into the Wild: Quotes, Page Numbers, and Analysis
Into the Wild Paperback
This is an essay I wrote on the novel Into the Wild. If you haven't read the book you should as it is very interesting and even philosophical. For entertainment or for help on a paper of your own I hope you enjoy my take on the book, enjoy!
We little know until tried how much of the uncontrollable there is in us, urging us across glaciers and torrents, and up dangerous heights, let the judgment forbid as it may (145).
In all of us there is an animal force, pushing us away from modern life, and into the wild. As we mature some of us discover that this force is so powerful in us that we must act, pursuing something greater than ourselves, an escape. This urge is uncontrollable, and has the power to motivate individuals to do great things, alone. This alternative existence is sought by few, and lived by fewer. The possibility of death does not sway these risk takers because it would be better to die than to live a life unsatisfied.
A man who has given away a small fortune, forsaken a loving family, abandoned his car, watch, and map, and burned the last of his money before traipsing off into the wilderness (71).
They seek solitude, a chance to look within. They have rejected life and its rules, instead they seek to find rules instead of make them up, learn instead of teach. From outside these actions are confusing, pointless. You cannot redefine yourself if you are hampered by the things that define you. You have to spend time thinking about, questioning, and defining your own existence.
But there was a side to him that was a little bit dreamy, a little bit out of touch with reality (81).
This ideological pursuit, to find a controlled environment where the only variable is oneself, was absurd. The thoughts and pursuits of modern man are impossible to shake completely. It is impossible to completely change ourselves; we will always have the memories, behaviors, and bodies from our previous form. We are either satisfied with what we can change, or in a constant state of motion, trying to solve a problem that has no solution. In these situations the only fulfillment is death, the only time when the old self is completely gone.
He demanded much of himself-more, in the end, than he could deliver (184).
There is a separation of mind and body, the physical world of the wilderness and the human philosophical domain. When people try to live out their moral pursuits, they are demanding a lot out of themselves to make such a momentous change. The more someone is trying to change themselves, the more demanding their goal is. If someone’s goal is out of touch with reality, they set themselves up in a position where the chance of success is minute, and the chance of failure is a strong possibility. These ill-fated attempts to apply morals and philosophies to the physical world prove the hopelessness and ultimate impossibility to combine the mental world of modern man to the chaos and peril of the natural world.
I have known too much of the depths of life already, and I would prefer anything to an anticlimax (87).
There is a point where someone has discovered so much hope and possibility that not experiencing the final thrill, the one moment in their life that they have been building up to their entire life, that death would be preferable. To have the knowledge that you missed your moment that something that you once cultivated is forever lost could easily motivate someone to accept death. If someone lives a calm course of existence they will never experience this extreme moment of ultimate satisfaction or defeat. By pursuing this moment, you are sacrificing any hope of normality, for you will either die broken, or live victorious. Instead of living in boredom, you are gambling your entire life, you are rolling the dice, and you are accepting the outcome as absolute.
I am all alone, this is no joke. In the name of God, please remain to save me (12).
The moment where defeat is accepted is always difficult, but if defeat means death the pain is unimaginable. The mentality of your new life slowly unravels into a mass of hypocrisy and pointlessness. You have gambled your life and lost, the loneliness you experience is comical, you have ignored human history and tried to embrace the very danger and chaos that modern man sought to escape. You thought you had discovered something new, something that would allow you to experience the ultimate emotions a human body can produce. You were right; you experienced emotional stratification, the ultimate extremes. However, you would be joking if you did not think there was a price to pay for the ultimate. The same isolation that you longed for, that brought you happiness and fragility as well as sadness and danger, is a duality. You will now experience death, the final emotional and physical climax. At first you are consumed with fear, then acceptance. You preferred anything to an anticlimax and you got what you wanted. This is no joke, and you do not need to be saved.
No longer would he answer to Chris McCandless; he was now Alexander Super-tramp, master of his own destiny (23).