Saturday, November 25, 2006
Book 70: Into the Wild
this is another that got me by the cover. it's brief description of the contents sounded macabre in the extreme...about someone's decomposing body being found by a moose hunter. naturally, i couldn't wait to read it. this is the story of chris mccandless, a wealthy young man from the dc area who decided, upon his college graduation, to get back to real living. he traveled around the united states for almost two years, hitchhiking and working odd jobs, living out of his backpack and tent until he headed for alaska where he met his demise. the author does highlight mccandless' foolishness and improper perspective about nature, yet he gives the guy some credit, unlike most alaskans. he was woefully unprepared and uneducated about how to survive in the wilderness. and so he died.
this was an interesting and easy read. krakauer, the author, touches on the pull the frontier exerts over all of us. especially as americans, there seems to be something about wild and beautiful places that calls to us. we have been raised in an individualistic culture, and tramping out into isolation to commune with nature and look inside oneself is a natural application of our belief that we ourselves are teh pinnacle of society. man, this keyboard stinks. still at the champaign library, by the way. mccandless was a young man with big dreams and a firm conviction that the rules of civilization, his family, society, and even common sense, no longer applied to him. sadly, this cost him his life, and while many scoffed at his death and proclaimed is was some sad dreamer's just desserts, i don't think we are really that different. as americans we believe that we can do anything we set our minds to, in fact it's our duty to push boundaries, limitations and established anything. but i'm not actually sure that any of those things are actually true. i think they are, like the american dream and paul bunyan, myths of our american society we love to believe.