Into the Wild, a novel written by Jon Krakauer, as well as a film directed by Sean Penn, talks about Chris McCandless, a young individual who set out on a journey throughout the Western United States, isolating himself from society, and more importantly, his family. During his travels, he met a lot of different people that in a way changed his ways about how he sees the world. There are many characteristics to describe McCandless, such as “naïve”, “adventurous”, and “independent”. In the book, Krakauer described McCandless as “intelligent”, using parts in his book to prove his theory. While Krakauer thinks of McCandless as being “intelligent”, Penn thinks of McCandless as a more “saintly” type of person.
To show McCandless being “intelligent”, Krakauer used the part in his book where McCandless graduated from college. McCandless went to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated in April of 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in both history and anthropology. He also maintained a 3.72 grade point average during his college experience. Wayne Westerberg, one of the many people that McCandless encountered throughout his journey, even said that, “You could tell right away that Alex was intelligent. He read a lot, and used a lot of big words,” (Krakauer 18). McCandless must be very intelligent if he went to college, and also attained a near perfect grade point average.
To show McCandless being a “saintly” kind of person, Penn used the scene in his film, where McCandless donated some money to an organization called OXFAM. When McCandless graduated from Emory, he had almost twenty-five thousand dollars left over from his tuition. Since he never really cared that much about money, McCandless donated the rest of his tuition to OXFAM, an organization that feeds those less fortunate. McCandless’ act of kindness would later display irony at the end of the story, where he would die of starvation out in Alaska after eating a poisonous plant. People who are “saintly” do nice things, and McCandless donating money to an organization that feeds the hungry is one of the many things that make him “saintly”.
Another example Krakauer uses to prove McCandless’ intelligence happened when McCandless lived in an abandoned camper called the “Magic Bus” he found in Alaska. While he lived there, McCandless used his survival skills to stay healthy, and more importantly, stay alive. Some of the stuff he did to stay alive included shooting animals such as a moose and some birds to stay hungry, building a fire to stay warm from the cold weather, and improvising a bathtub to stay clean. He even wrote a list to remind him of these goals. As Krakauer wrote, “McCandless wrote a list of housekeeping chores on a parchment like strip of birch bark,” (Krakauer 165). McCandless must be very intelligent to have some survival skills; otherwise, he probably would have died sooner than he originally did.
Another example Penn uses in his film to show McCandless...