Into the Wild, a novel written by Jon Krakauer, as well as a 2007 film directed by Sean Penn, focuses on the adventures of Christopher Johnson McCandless, a young individual who set out on a journey throughout the Western United States, wanting to get away from his family and society, going under an alter ego named “Alexander Supertramp”. There are many characteristics that describe McCandless, such as “naïve”, “adventurous”, and “independent”. In the book, Krakauer described McCandless as being very “intelligent”. While Krakauer assumes McCandless as “intelligent”, Penn considers McCandless as a “saint”.
To prove his theory of McCandless being “intelligent”, Krakauer wrote about the time 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 going to Emory, and attaining a near perfect grade point average, implies how intelligent he must be.
In contrast to Krakauer’s view of McCandless being “intelligent”, Penn brings up the scene in his film where McCandless fixes Jan Burres and Rainey’s relationship with each other. During his travels, McCandless ran into Burres and Rainey, who were, at the time, not getting along together. However, when McCandless showed up, it somehow caused Burres to have a change of heart about her and Rainey’s relationship, and she wanted to get back together with him. When Rainey explained this to McCandless, and asked if it made sense to him, McCandless responded, “Some people feel like they don’t deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps to the past,” (Penn). McCandless repairing Burres and Rainey’s relationship with each other displays one of the many things he did in his life that makes him a saint.
Besides showing McCandless being smart academically, another example Krakauer uses to show McCandless’ intelligence happens when McCandless lived in Alaska. During his journey, when McCandless reached Alaska, he found an old, abandoned camper van called the “Magic Bus”. McCandless lived inside the camper as if it were a house. While he lived there, McCandless used some survival skills to stay alive because he did not have a lot of materials, like food, to live on. Some of the stuff he did to stay alive included shooting animals, like a moose and some birds so he would not starve, building a fire to stay warm, 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 displays...