Characters of The Wild

Characters of the wildWords by Elizabeth Pollard

Since first being introduced to the story of Christopher McCandless’ ‘ultimate Alaskan adventure’, I have never been able to stop questioning what it means to me. As a 16 year old, full of anger, indignance and uncertainty, I admired his journey and his mind. Obsessed with Jack Kareouc, J D salinger and this story of philosophy and adventure by Jon Krakauer, I craved the romance of tragedy and a complex mind.

I have read my favourite books; On the Road, The Catcher in the Rye and Into the Wild, countless times at different stages of my (still very young) life and feel my relationship with the characters’ ideals are changing somewhat. Always so uncomfortable with myself, I hid behind these self indulgent characters to feel a sense of adventure, however, never brave enough to actually pursue my own. Or so I thought. Reading the texts again, eight years older and after many new and not always pleasant experiences, I have come to realise that life is the adventure. Regardless of time or circumstance, there is no such thing as ‘the wild’. ‘The wild’ is the complexity of your own mind, which, no matter how far you run, you can never escape. Although a break from the pace of your current lifestyle may help you to see another perspective, your geographical location won’t battle your demons and give you serenity.

There is nothing like gaining new perspective on something you romanticised so heavily in the past and I’m sure there is yet more enlightenment to experience from these texts. So, I will continue reading about the adventures of Chris, Sal and Holden and let their turmoil educate my own big adventure.

merry-pranksters-1Neal Cassidy was the inspiration behind Jack Kerouac’s Dean Morarity in On The Road




Self portrait of Christopher McCandless. See more at


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