Into The Wild, by Jon Krakauer (Response#2/Reflection)
I have finished the nonfiction biography, "Into The Wild", by Jon Krakauer. It has 207 pages, and I have already made one previous response in regards to the novel.
Summary Continued: After thoroughly discussing McCandless' backstory and the responses associated with it, Krakauer tells a bit of his own life. He draws paralleles between him and Chris; Krakauer was an adventurous youth who had a difficult relationship with wealthy parents, just like McCandless. He similarly undertook a treacherous expedition, climbing the "Devil's Thumb" in Alaska. However, as Krakauer notes, the significant difference was that he had survived his experience, whereas Chris McCandless had not. Krakauer believes that his and McCandless' idealistic attitudes and ignorances were alike, and so he could have ended up just like Chris, if it weren't for his luck. To close his personal tale, Krakauer states that he was not satisfied at all after overcoming the Devil's Thumb, but did learn an important moral in the value of companionship. He feels that Chris did have the right motivation, and would have also found out the pains of solitude if he survived. After that, Krakauer details the main mistakes Chris had made during his time in the wild, and concludes his reasons for death: starvation and sickness influenced by the consumption of poisonous beans. At the end of the novel, Krakauer mentions how McCandless may have died happily, as he had taken one last picture only 3 days before his death that showed a skeletal, yet smiling face.
Significant Theme: Through the tales of Chris McCandless and other young adventurers just like him, readers can see that one particularly apparent theme is the importance in understanding. Those seemingly brash individuals all had faced issues with family, the world, and/or themselves, of which they had many misconceptions and were unwilling to discuss with others. As a result, they searched for answers in solitude, with most never returning due to their ignorance and false idealism. Furthermore, while they may not have realized it, their deaths had caused tremendous pains for family and friends, leaving wounds that may never heal. So, by including all of this morose information, Krakauer hopes to show that one can't simply escape from life and its problems. Even with himself, he states that it would have been much better to acknowledge his differences with his father, instead of completely disagreeing with him and acting out. However, at the same time, Krakauer is not encouraging readers to be submissive to others' wills, as he admired McCandless' resolve. Rather, Krakauer wants people to accept it when others, especially family, hold different opinions. In other words, it is vital to comprehend both your's and other's weak points, and to try to make the best of things instead of running away from your problems.
Recommendation: I am definitely not a fan of nonfiction books, and especially not depressing stories like "Into The Wild". However, that's just personal distaste, as the book is great and brilliantly written otherwise. Krakauer manages to organize his work in a unique, yet commendable way; he often provides interludes of quotes and such which may at first seem a bit annoying, but really add to the overall effect of the tale. Chris McCandless' story in itself is quite mysterious, and I found his ideals to be a bit inspirational, albeit silly. Furthermore, I like Krakauer's honesty in saying that he was not an impartial biographer, and I found the connections he made to be intriguing. Also, the vocabulary isn't tough, but I do feel it could have used less wording and be more straightforward. Bottom line, this was one of the better nonfictions I've read, but it still won't change my overall opinion of the genre; I would recommend it only to people who have the interest.