Sunday, January 18, 2015

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Many of my seniors read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer for another class, and they recommended that I read it, and of course, I did.

This is a true story of a young man named Chris McCandless, who, after he finished college, decided to give away the reminder of his college fund and go to Alaska and live off the land literally. He hitchhiked a lot, lived and worked in several places, and eventually ended up in Alaska.

Jon interviewed people who met Chris on his journey, and it appears that Chris was a very likable guy who left an imprint on everyone whom he met. He even convinced an eighty-one year old man to live until he died. He told the elderly man in a letter: "You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living." 

It depends on how you see things whether or not you will think that this story ends tragically. It is believed, by Jon, that Chris eventually ate something that was poisonous or starved to death in an old bus in Alaska. However, one of his last acts was to take a picture of himself where "He is smiling in the picture, and there is no mistaking the look in his eyes: Chris McCandless was at peace, serene as a monk gone to God."

This book made me think a lot about myself and people who are free spirited. I thought about how I sort of wish that Chris had taken someone with him, and maybe he would have survived. However, I can understand his need to take this journey alone. I am not afraid to go many places by myself, and as I read this book, I had a vision of myself being on a place like Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard, spending time alone, reading, writing books, and only taking breaks to stare at the Ocean. So, I totally understand Chris' need to do this alone.

My students and I have been talking about the idea of pursuing our "Personal Legends," and I really admire Chris for taking this journey even if it meant that he would lose his life. I would rather die pursing my dream than to live without pursing it.....

Very interesting read of courage, maybe coupled with a little youthful, invincible stupidity!

This is a good one for sure.

This is The Day; Seize It!

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