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Essay on Mental Illness In Into The Wild

The story of Chris McCandless shows a rebellious free spirit trying to live his life to the fullest. But is the story as black and white as it looks? “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer is a true story about the adventure of Chris McCandless. He travels around the country and mooches off people before he goes to Alaska and tragically dies. The early trauma to Chris caused him to be mentally unstable. Due to the similarities from Chris’ childhood and the authors I believe there has to be a romanticization of the story to better fit his ideal self.

The author is manipulating he story to make the idea of living off the land and being a rebel better than it truly is. Chris could have had a possible mental illness as a result of early childhood trauma. Next, Jon shares a connection to Chris because of similar childhoods. Finally, The manipulation of the audience is present throughout the story and he panders to the audience to help push his own agenda. The evidence throughout the story strongly points to Chris McCandless possessing a mental disorder throughout his journey. Specifically an attachment disorder.

Reactive attachment disorder or “R. A. D. is a disability to attach to anyone due to neglect in the ages 1-3. The side effects of this inflicts the person to feel no remorse and have low sense of cause and effect. One of the main indications of it is also being emotionally distant while staying non intimate. “McCandless was thrilled to be on his way north, and he was relieved as well -relieved that he had again evaded the impending threat of human intimacy, of friendship, and all the messy emotional baggage that comes with it.

He had fled the claustrophobic confines of his family. He’d successfully kept Jan Burres and Wayne Westerberg at arm’s length, flitting out of their lives before anything was expected of him. And now he’d slipped painlessly out of Ron Franz’s life as well. ” (Krakauer, 55) This shows that he impulsively wants to be away from society and he “Evaded the impending threat of human intimacy, of friendship” Chris is keeping everyone at arm’s length and refuses to allow himself emotion.

This is all very prevalent in cases of R. A. D. At first glance the story of “Into the Wild” is a tragic but inspirational story of transcending the laws of society and living ff the land, this is at least how we see it through the biased author’s position on the topic. Jon through his book expresses that he loves mountain climbing, he loves going to great heights. My only question is: Could he possibly be pushing his “obsession” onto the audience? “If something captured my undisciplined imagination, I pursued it with a zeal bordering on obsession, and from the age of seventeen until my late twenties that was mountain climbing. ” (Krakauer, 134).

Jon is telling us about his childhood of his coming to what he loves. To as he ays, “zeal bordering on obsession” If we take a look at the story through the goggles of someone in love with the concept. This is story about a rebellious kid who breaks societal chains. But in reality it is a tragic story of a mental kid running away from his problems without knowing the effect of his actions. The story sounds like he is making it into a story about his ideal self, the self that doesn’t care about society, doesn’t care about his father, doesn’t care about anything besides going outdoors and living there.

People say this story isn’t about Chris, it is about you. But i beg to differ; I believe that this story isn’t about anyone but an author who wished he changed his life into being a rebellious free spirit long ago. “Projection is a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person, where they then appear as a threat from the external world. ” -Sigmund Freud. Sometimes as a way to preserve our own feelings we disassociate ourselves with said feelings and “Project” them onto others.

Chapter 14, from “Into the Wild”, depicts the author’s life as well as his childhood. Jon reveals much about his early life, but one thing is eculiar: He brushes over the part that sounds important and emotional, “I disappointed my father in the usual ways. Like McCandless, figures of male authority aroused in me a confusing medley of corked fury and hunger to please. If something captured my undisciplined imagination, I pursued it with a zeal bordering on obsession, and from the age of seventeen until my late twenties that sor climbing…

The picture held an almost pornographic fascination for me. How would it feel, I wondered, to be balanced on that was mountain bladelike summit ridge, worrying over the storm clouds building n the distance, hunched against the wind and dunning cold, contemplating the drop on either side? Could a person keep a lid on his terror long enough to reach the top and get back down?.. But i never had any doubt that climbing the devils thumb would transform my life. How could it not? (Krakauer, 134-135) The strange short talk about while he was young, his father never approved of him and he was a disappointment in his eyes. Right after he relates it back to McCandless he takes the center of attention away from him then makes the audience remember Chris’ rebellious nature. Next he talks about filling he void in his life with an “obsession” the thing he pursues is most likely him attempting to make his father approve of him so he can do it himself. Jon talks about a picture of “The Devils Thumb” which is the ridge he is talking about standing on top of.

He describes a pornographic fascination, or obsession. With the evidence provided it makes it clear that the Devils thumb is a metaphor for him trying to get his father’s approval; If he gets to the top then in his mind, he will make his father proud and that would “transform” his life. When you break down the blacks and the whites you get to an rray of colors with each shade opening up a new perspective. The story of Chris McCandless is about a kid who has attachment issues doing what he can to make himself happy.

By doing this he abandons his family, manipulates those close to him, denies feelings, and eventually accidentally kills himself in Alaska. That’s how the story happened, not as it is portrayed. The story of “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer is a story of an author who manipulates the audience into viewing his ideal self as the person we should try to be. The story is about him avoiding his problems and putting them into an obsession of is. The story is about him turning something that wasn’t into something that is.

But overall the story is about him. Like Jon however, we should all follow our dreams yes, but in doing so we shouldn’t push our dreams onto others. We should live our lives to the fullest but understand what that means for others around us. When Jon reached his late twenties, I presume the obsession of climbing didn’t fade away, yet shifted into creating a book. This book being of the life story of a free spirited kid. This sparked a “Pornagraphic facincation” and “Into the Wild”, is Jon Krakauer’s new Devils Thumb.

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