Chris McCandless, the main character of Into the Wild, is searching for his true self. His numerous tests of both his physical and mental abilities are proof of his determination. He felt affected in his families presence so went on a road trip. He was criticized by many for this, but who could stop him from discovering who he is. It is clear from the novel that Chris’ relationship with his parents is not good. He refuses gifts from them and then disappears. He had instructed his family that he was not interested in giving or receiving gifts. When his father offered to buy him a new car he became enraged. He had a car and couldn’t understand why his father would buy him a new one. Chris took the money that his family had left him for college and donated it to Oxfam which gives food to the hungry. This is ironic because Chris eventually died from starvation. Many people criticize McCandless for not keeping in touch with his parents and family. Chris was 22 years old. He did not have to tell his parents anything. He was doing what he wanted, not what other people wanted him to do and he was happy. They call him selfish for disregarding his parents’ feelings. McCandless was living his life for himself. He wanted to be happy and it happened to upset his parents. Wanting your own happiness is not selfish it is your right. I don’t think that McCandless was trying to upset his family, he was just trying to make himself happy by doing what he wanted to do. One of the reasons that I believe McCandless did not keep in contact with his parents while he kept in touch with those he met along the way is because he was afraid of disapproval. His parents had never been to find of his “adventures” so he didn’t want to hear them voice their disapproval. The people he met along the way may not have approved of his travels but they weren’t going to tell him not to do it. McCandless needed these people. He needed approval, because in his mind that gave him the ok to go ahead.
The Island by Gary Paulsen
The Island by Gary Paulsen
The book I read was The Island by Gary Paulsen. It is about a 15 year
old boy named Wil Neuton who moves with his family to northern Wisconsin.
There he finds an island on Sucker Lake where he stays to learn about
Wil likes riding his bike early in the morning. He also likes watching
nature. He is very tall for his age-6 feet 2-but well-built and strong. He
is honest,cares about others and prefers to talk things through than
resort to violence.
The title is good because the book is very much about the island and
about Wil finding himself on this island. The island also becomes a very
prominent point in Wil’s life. By comparison and observation, he learns
that all things are connected.
An interesting minor character is Emil Aucht. On the morning of his
first day in Pinewood Wil wakes up to find Emil staring at him through the
window. Emil is an old man with one tooth, no hair and ears that stick out.
He chews tobacco and spits brown gunk all over the place. He first appears
in the story to request that Wil help him get his car out of the mud. Then
Emil reappears to fix the plumbing,wrecking Wil’s parents’ nerves in the
The atmosphere in the story is that of a small hick town in northern
Wisconsin:open,friendly,relaxed and very laid-back. It strikes me as being
very much like “cottage country” in northern
Ontario:lakes,forest,fishing,small town life. The time is the late 1980’s.
The novel ends with Wil seeing that his father is watching him from
shore. Wil rows over and finds that his father is tired and sad,his eyes
rimmed with red from crying. Wil invites his father over to the island and
realizes that this saga will only end when Wil finds an island big enough
for his whole family so they can learn what he has learned.