Into the Wild': Compare and Contrast Essay

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Some people believe that they are completely in control of their lives, while others believe that their lives are completely controlled by fate. And therein lies a question. Are our lives controlled by fate or our own choices? Two texts attempt to answer this question. The first is 'Oedipus', by Sophocles, and 'Into the Wild', by Jon Krakauer. After analysis, 'Into the Wild' seems to answer this question far better than 'Oedipus”. “Into the Wild” gives evidence of how a man chose to leave a stable life, even though he had plenty of other options. It shows how . . ., while in “Oedipus,” it may seem that it provides a compelling argument, but it falls apart when you realize that it is not a real story.

“Into the Wild,” by Jon Krakauer gives an example of how choices impact a teen’s life. The novel describes how a boy in college, Chris McCandless, decides to leave his life at college and trek into the wilderness. He gave no sign of intention to leave, and confused his entire family: “‘. . . make sure you come see us before you go.’ Chris smiled and nodded, a response that Walt and Billie took as an affirmation that he would visit them in Annandale before the summer was out, and then they said their goodbyes.” This gives his parents the impression that they will see him again and shows how he confused them. From this, one could understand how he could have a miscommunication with his parents. Even as he chose this though, he had plenty of other options. He had high grades at school and could have easily gotten a job, but he still decided to go on this journey. He had plenty of opportunity, as he had, “more than twenty-four thousand dollars remaining at the time of Chris’s graduation, money his parents thought he intended to use for law school.” Still, he donated all of that to a charity. This gives the idea that he was intent on doing something else. He did not want to use the money to help his career, but he donated it. This is easily a better option for him, yet he still took the path he wanted. This is an example of how choices control our lives more than fate does. Into the Wild gives the most convincing examples of choices vs fate, such as how he chose to leave his life, even though he had a much better and more safe option.

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Another way that “Into the Wild” does a better job of answering the question is how it shows that fate had little part to play in this. He made all of these choices on his own, with no mentioned outside influence, eliminating the intervention of fate. This was shown in the text when the author stated, “he was now Alexander Supertramp, master of his own destiny.” This is proof that this was all his free will, that he recognized what fate was, and knew that it was not affecting him. He therefore made these decisions on his own, and this is a confirmation of that. Another piece of info that supports this is the fact that there was little mention of outside forces playing a part in his decisions. The major decision of this novel is him going on this journey. The only force that affected this decision was his belief in “Civil Disobedience”, as stated in the text, “he answered to statutes of a higher order—that as a latter-day adherent of Henry David Thoreau, he took as gospel the essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’.”This is the only mention of outside forces in this whole text, proving how little fate played a part in this, and how it was not involved.

Oedipus does not do a good job of answering the question, as there is no validity to the story. At first glance, Oedipus makes a compelling argument towards fate plays a large role in the lives of man, but after deeper analysis, one realizes that this is merely a story, and has no actual validity. The story is of a king who is told his fate is to be killed by his son, and his son will marry his wife, so he tries to kill the baby, but it doesn’t work, and destiny takes over, and it all happens anyway. At first, one would think that fate has a large part in our lives, but it is just a tale. The big reveal of fate in this text is stated by the oracle: “I say thou art the murderer of the man whose murderer thou pursuest.” This is how fate is supposed to take place, and the son realizes he killed his father. The whole text is fiction, a work from the mind of Sophocles, and therefore loses all validity when compared to something nonfiction, such as “Into the Wild”.

The texts both give compelling arguments, but at the end of the day, ”Into the Wild” seems to give the best argument. It has better evidence, and a strong counterargument, something lacking in Oedipus. The question remains, are our lives controlled by fate, or our own choices? “Into the Wild” seems to answer this question very well, but ultimately, the answer to the question is entirely up to the question.

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Into the Wild’: Compare and Contrast Essay. (2024, February 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
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