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oldfatguy

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

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Into The Wild was never a survival manual, never was and never will be. It's about breaking free of the consumerist shit storm we call society. In his short life he experienced alot more 'adventure' than most people ever will. So many people I talk to would love to walk out of their boring 9 to 5 job, flick the bird to society and do whatever the hell they wanted to. Christopher McCandless did that and that is why I loved his story.

I agree with your thoughts on the book - it was never intended as any type of survival manual. I had just hoped to have found some useful information from his story.  Yes, McCandless had lots of "adventure"in his short life, I just find it sad that his lack of preparation and overconfidence caused his death in the process.

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So what? Isn't that better than dying of a heart attack at 50 because you're 75 pounds over weight, 30,000 in debt, and work way too long at a job you dont like to buy things that you can't use because you have to work to pay for them?@

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I daydream about climbing out my office window and taking off into the woods. Toss the wallet and cellphone and run free. If I didn't hike and camp, I would most likely be locked up.  I get what McCandless was trying to do. And Watcher has also made an astute observation. The system will grind you down IF you let it.

 

 

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So what? Isn't that better than dying of a heart attack at 50 because you're 75 pounds over weight, 30,000 in debt, and work way too long at a job you dont like to buy things that you can't use because you have to work to pay for them?@

Opinions vary.  I was thinking that if you go to the work of "getting away from it all", it might be nice to enjoy it for a little while rather than slowly starving to death.  I guess, based on this pictures, he was smiling, so he might have been enjoying himself, and he did make it over 100 days (a little less than a semester of college).

 

Muddy makes a great point: "The system will grind you down IF you let it. ".  For me, the key there is "IF you let it".  If you go around with a chip on your shoulder, hating on whatever you don't like about society, maybe starving to death in the wilderness would be a better option.

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His intention was never to die. Yes he may have been ill prepared but like I said it's not a survival manual. It kind of reminds of a kid with a new toy that gets so excited that they neglect to read the instructions and just want to start playing with it then and there. Anyway, I guess to put it simply I admire his thirst for adventure.

I also found an interesting article I found about how he died.

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/how-chris-mccandless-died

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Exactly captain.  He may have been foolish, he may have rushed into things, but he died doing what he believed in.

I can respect him for doing what he believed it, but the way he went about it, to me, seems excessively foolish.  It would be like "believing" I can safely jump from a flying airplane, getting in the plane, going up, jumping out, then part way down, thinking "Hey, maybe a parachute would have been helpful."

 

As well, it seems a bit ironic that he wanted to cut his ties from civilization, but then the only way he survived as long as he did was by taking refuge in an old bus, remnant of civilization, something completely out of place in the wild.

 

The irony continues in his last note, where he seemed to have changed his outlook a bit, hoping that some how, someone from the civilization he wanted to get away from would come by and save him.

 

"I NEED YOUR HELP. I AM INJURED, NEAR DEATH, AND TOO WEAK TO HIKE OUT OF HERE. I AM ALL ALONE, THIS IS NO JOKE. IN THE NAME OF GOD, PLEASE REMAIN TO SAVE ME. "

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I can respect him for doing what he believed it, but the way he went about it, to me, seems excessively foolish.  It would be like "believing" I can safely jump from a flying airplane, getting in the plane, going up, jumping out, then part way down, thinking "Hey, maybe a parachute would have been helpful."

 

As well, it seems a bit ironic that he wanted to cut his ties from civilization, but then the only way he survived as long as he did was by taking refuge in an old bus, remnant of civilization, something completely out of place in the wild.

 

The irony continues in his last note, where he seemed to have changed his outlook a bit, hoping that some how, someone from the civilization he wanted to get away from would come by and save him.

 

"I NEED YOUR HELP. I AM INJURED, NEAR DEATH, AND TOO WEAK TO HIKE OUT OF HERE. I AM ALL ALONE, THIS IS NO JOKE. IN THE NAME OF GOD, PLEASE REMAIN TO SAVE ME. "

 

Starving to death, alone in the wild would change my opinion of people too.

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The situation is a bit more like jumping with a parachute, but never having used one before and not knowing or realizing that there are right and wrong ways to hit the ground and because of that lack of knowledge or practice you end up breaking your legs and then dying from exposure because you were too busted up to crawl out for help.

 

 

I'd love to skydive, but I know enough that I don't know enough about it to try it without some instruction.  I consider Macandless to be more like that.  I believe he thought he had a good idea what he was getting into, but not until after getting into it, and it was too late did he realized his mistake.  He paid for it with his life. 

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His intention was never to die. Yes he may have been ill prepared but like I said it's not a survival manual. It kind of reminds of a kid with a new toy that gets so excited that they neglect to read the instructions and just want to start playing with it then and there. Anyway, I guess to put it simply I admire his thirst for adventure.

I also found an interesting article I found about how he died.

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/how-chris-mccandless-died

I agree with you on that, Captain - I don't believe McCandless's intention was to die.  It was his arrogance, ignorance and lack of preparation that put in the situation that caused his death.

 

I have read the New Yorker article by Krakuer. Some of the ideas Krakuer tries to present here might be borderline plausible.  I would put more stock in a recognized expert on wild edibles, such as Samuel Thayer, however.

 

http://foragersharvest.com/into-the-wild-and-other-poisonous-plant-fables/

 

In summary:

"No other individual who has investigated the matter finds Krakauer’s explanations necessary or even credible.

 

The only reasonable conclusion is that Chris died of starvation—the regular kind of starvation, which results from not eating enough food over a prolonged period—not from some farfetched and imaginary sort of starvation."

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The situation is a bit more like jumping with a parachute, but never having used one before and not knowing or realizing that there are right and wrong ways to hit the ground and because of that lack of knowledge or practice you end up breaking your legs and then dying from exposure because you were too busted up to crawl out for help.

 

 

I'd love to skydive, but I know enough that I don't know enough about it to try it without some instruction.  I consider Macandless to be more like that.  I believe he thought he had a good idea what he was getting into, but not until after getting into it, and it was too late did he realized his mistake.  He paid for it with his life. 

McCandless brought along 10 pounds of rice, but no parachute...lol. (I think that was in Chapter 3, btw...)

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Yep, and he could have studied the local plants for that area extensively but not known some other small seemingly innocuous tidbit of information that could have saved his life.  We are all not experts at everything, we have to learn.  He lacked experience that a couple of week long trips could have given him before he set off on such a long endeavor.  Did he make mistakes or not have all the knowledge necessary to complete the trip?  I would agree, but that doesn't make him a bad person or a terrible person for attempting it.  Many people do things that they believe they are prepared for and aren't, but survive anyway to learn from their mistakes.  Many others make a relatively minor mistake and end up dead or maimed for it.    I feel Macandless was in the middle.  He did study and thought he was prepared and appeared to have a good knowledge of the area, but not having the experience that may have taught him a few things that he couldn't pick up out of books may have turned out to be his downfall. 

 

 

I didn't know him so I can't make a judgement call on his mindset.  I do applaud him for doing what he wanted to do, but he had the opportunity to live and do it again and a again but he chose to jump in the deep end without testing the waters first and it cost him the chance to do it over and over again.

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"In this essay, I do not wish to pass any judgment on Chris McCandless. He made incredible mistakes, overestimated himself, and underestimated “The Wild,” but that does not make me scornful of him. In fact, I admire his courage despite his fatal hubris. I also admire his search for truth and meaning in a world that is often disgusting in its shallowness and materialism. The fact that he died in this search in no way diminishes the lasting truth of the answers he found. To that end, I hope he would appreciate what I have written here." - Samuel Thayer.

 

This article is lengthy, however, very well written, objective and seems to be based on facts rather than speculation. After reading and studying this for a bit, yes, it seems my original opinions of Chris McCandless were a bit harsh.  This may be due in part by some of the tone in Krakeur's book (I need to keep in mind that his main focus was to sell books...).

 

Thayer takes the time to point out some very valuable lessons to be learned from what happened to Chris McCandless (more than I found in the entire book).  Take the time to read this article:

http://foragersharvest.com/into-the-wild-and-other-poisonous-plant-fables/

 

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I agree OFG, I was also a bit harsher in the beginning, but after thinking about it, I came to that same realization.

 

 

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McCandless was a smart kid with a lot of emotional issues. He made some real bad choices. There are cabins around there but the park service don't think he did it. There was also a hand rail car to cross the river located not far from there had he just walked in that direction. The bus is a emergency shelter for hunters or anyone traveling in the back country. There will always be unanswered questions for this tragic story. But Krakauer isn't the most honest writer either. He changed the ending in his book from his original one it has been said. I know a guy who is a pilot and has land by there who seen him at the bus quite a few times flying over. I think he never ventured far from the bus so he never got the lay of the land. I truly think had he explored more and found other edible plants and had dried the salmon that run in that river he may have been alive today. He could have easily walked back down the Stampede Trail and gone into Healy and did odd jobs just to make some money for supplies. But he let his pride and stubbornness get in his way.

I have read the book and everything else on this subject and seen the movie when it came out in theaters. I also own it on DVD. I don't think he was stupid in any way. I just think he made bad choices due to his stubbornness.

There is now a book out of his photos they recovered from his camera.

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Well now there is another book out by Carine McCandless called The Wild Truth. I picked it up to read but haven't got to it as of yet.

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