Throughout time, many people all over the world develop different principles and ideologies that bring joy and happiness through their lives. These principles can come from a variety of subjects and are unique to the individual. Specifically, in the book Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer, the main character, Christopher McCandless had many radical ideas that brought him happiness. During the book, Krakauer details how Chris had wanted to escape society to find happiness and one of his main sources was the wild. Therefore, through Chris’s many adventures, John Krakauer develops the theme that true happiness may be found through isolation and nature by using writing strategies such as conflict, characterization, and
One technique that Jon Krakauer uses to develop the theme that true happiness may be found through isolation and nature is the use of conflict, specifically, man vs. man. For example, throughout the account, Krakauer describes how Chris had disagreed with his parent’s actions and materialism and believed that this did not bring happiness to the family. According to the novel, in a letter that Chris wrote to Carine, he says “Did they think I’d actually let them pay for my law school if I was going to go… I’ve told them a million times that I have the best car in the world, a car that has spanned the continent from Miami to Alaska, a car that has in all those thousands of miles not given me a single problem, a car that I will never trade-in, a car that I am very strongly attached to-yet they ignore what I say and think I’d actually accept a new car from them! I’m going to have to be real careful not to accept any gifts from them in the future because they will think they have bought my respect” (Krakauer 21). This example displays a man vs. man conflict because it explains how Chris didn’t want any gifts or money from his parents because he didn’t like the materialism his parents exercised. This example shows how Chris didn’t like the wealth his family had to offer because he believed that true happiness could not be found in the gifts they bought one another. This example also shows how Chris didn’t want to accept any of his parents’ gifts because he didn’t like being surrounded by wealth and didn’t like all the flashy things they planned on getting him. Overall, this example of conflict supports the theme because ultimately one of the main reasons why Chris escaped and isolated himself in the wild was to get away from his parents. He wanted to escape from the greed and money they held in order to find his true happiness. Chris was able to find this true happiness through the vast landscape of the Alaskan wilderness and by completely isolating himself from his family. That is how Krakauer develops the theme through the use of conflict.
Besides conflict, another technique that Krakauer uses to develop the theme that true happiness may be found through isolation and happiness is through characterization. Throughout the novel, Chris along with his family and the members he met on his journey, all describe Chris in many different ways. For example, early on in the novel, Krakauer includes Chris’s inner feelings of Leon Tolstoy which writes, “I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life” (Krakauer 15). Later on in the story in Chris’s last days, he writes in the bus “Happiness is only real when shared” (Krakauer 189). These examples characterize Chris as someone who didn’t want life to be represented by a dollar sign, but rather to be full of adventures and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. These examples also characterize Chris as someone who wanted to be independent of society and only wanted to share his feelings with the wild. Therefore, these examples help support the theme that true happiness may be found through isolation and nature because Chris was the type of person who loved nature ever since he was a little boy and his goal was to understand the wilderness around him. One of the few reasons why Chris made his trek to Alaska was so that he didn’t have to worry about the materialism around him and he rather spend his time traveling across the country and ultimately settling down in nature which was his goal throughout his life. This example also helps support the theme because they explain how Chris emphasized the fact that happiness is only real when shared and he wasn’t able to share it with his family but rather with the wild because he felt that the wild and himself connected in a way that was special. This special connection with nature allowed Chris to find the happiness he was looking for. That is how Krakauer develops the theme through the use of characterization.