Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail essay sample

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Comparison of Key Motivating Factors for Chris McCandless and Cheryl Strayed to Go Hiking


The Cheryl Strayed 2012 memoir book “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” and the 2007 film “Into the Wild” by Sean Penn depict two stories about individuals, who set out for a hiking trip to wilderness on the territory of the United States of America.

Both characters represent real people, who decided to go into the wild without previous experience, which emphasizes the challenging nature of their trips. Both characters end up their journeys with a discovered wisdom and resolved conflicts. Cheryl returns to the society after reaching the Bridge of the Gods, the final point of the Pacific Crest Trail stretching 2650 miles from the South to the North in the Western part of the country. Unfortunately, Chris perishes in a in an abandoned bus along Stampede Trail in Alaska due to the natural obstacles of the wilderness, as he tries to return to the society, the value of which he finally realizes.

However, the two personalities are quite different in their motivation to start a dangerous adventure. Cheryl Strayed went on her trip to wilderness with the purpose to save herself (Strayed 11). On the contrary, Chris McCandless runs away from the, as he thinks, corrupted society, which is mentioned by him regularly throughout the film. Therefore, the motivating factors for Cheryl’s trip into the wilderness are connected with her internal conflict and grief of losing her mother, which ruin her life, while Chris sets out for a hiking trip to Alaska due to his internal conflict with the traditional norms in the society, as this conflict develops during his entering the adulthood. The State of Things before the Decision to Go HikingThe State of Things for Chris McCandless before the TripThe state of things for Chris can be characterized with the status, which is associated with success in the contemporary society.

He finishes the higher education establishment with perfect results, experience in the sport team of the university and about 24 000 dollars of saving, which he can invest in his further prosperity in the society. After the graduates’ honoring ceremony at the campus, his parents reveal that they are going to him a new car for his further life. At this moment the conflict of Chris is revealed for the first time in the movie, as he states that he does not need material possessions and they do not bring him any satisfaction. Soon after the conversation with his parents, Chris donates almost all his financial possessions to the volunteer organization, which seeks solutions to poverty and injustice in the society. He donates the money with the message: “This is all money I have. Please, feed somebody with the use of this money”. He destroys all the bank cards, documents and unnecessary possession and starts his long two year odyssey around the Western America. It is quite obvious that state of material things is perfect for …

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