Into the wild; Relationship between Chris & his father


Into the wild analysis

Analysis of the Relationship between Chris and his father

The relationship between a father and a son is supposed to be one of a kind. A father is supposed to guide his son on the facts of life and how to survive. This, however, is not the case when it comes to the relationship between Chris and his father. Both characters have strong personalities which on several occasions do not see eye to eye. The author makes this one of his themes due to the looming rate of broken relationships between families (Krakauer, p. 214).

Into the wild

The focus of this paper is to provide an analysis of Jon Krakauer’s “Into the wild”. The paper looks at the general themes of the novel which are a reflection of the author’s life. The paper seeks to explain the relationship between fathers and their sons. The relationship between Chris and his father is unique in that it portrays the qualities of a love-hate relationship. The paper looks at both characters so as to determine the reason for their treatment towards each other. Also,  the paper showcases the relationship between Chris and the strangers he meets by analyzing the role of Westerberg and Ronald Franz play? The paper finally provides a concluding paragraph that summarizes its contents.

“McCandless was thrilled to be on his way north, and he was relieved as well—relieved that he had again evaded the impending threat of human intimacy, of friendship, and all the messy emotional baggage that comes with it”

One of the factors that act as a bridge between father and son is the lifestyle of Chris’s father. The senior Mr. Mc Candles has managed to invest in a reputation that is not appealing in the eyes of society. He is well off and represents the members of the high society in the community. The lifestyle of the social elite is desirable to many who do not fit into this category. This makes them the target of social climbers who are more than willing to forgo their dignity to get what they want. Chris’s father uses his economic influence to engage in extramarital relationships.

This is not a secret in that the entire society is aware of his bigamist nature. This is also one of the reasons for the divorce from Chris’s mother. Chris, on the other hand, poses different qualities. He is a stand-up member of the society who chooses to distance himself from the social ills of the community. He is against his father’s conduct towards his mother and their marriage. This creates a rift between the two in that Chris blames his father for the distress his mother experiences as a result of the divorce (Spurr and Cameron, p. 117).

As stated earlier, Chris is brought into a world of extreme wealth. All his resources are readily available and making his life easier than the average member of society. Chris’s father has a different perspective concerning the wealth that his family holds.  He uses his influence to elevate his status in society. He places emphasis on success as opposed to the success of his family.  One would expect him to embrace this kind of lifestyle by venturing into his father’s business.

He chooses to defy the odds by taking a two year trip in protest of his father’s actions. He takes a drastic step by giving away his college fund so that he explores different options from the life that he is accustomed to. This further puts pressure on their relationship because Chris uses his hurt to push his father away. Chris’s father is inclined to be disappointed in his son due to his lack of regard for all things superior. Both characters thus do not have a typical father-son relationship (Penn and Krakauer, p. 152).

One of the things that the two have in common is the love for mountain climbing. Both father and son are keen on the sport making it a key aspect in their life. This acts as one of the factors that bring them together as father and son. It is ironic that Chris uses mountain climbing as an avenue to rebel against his father. Chris is introduced to mountain climbing at an early stage. Venturing into the wilderness is thus one of the ways both characters let go of their frustrations. As Chris takes off into the wilderness, he shuns his family so that he can identify with other people. His father does not understand why he has an easy time relating to different people yet he cannot form a relationship between his family members (Krakauer, p. 204).

 “Seven weeks after the body of his son turned up in Alaska wrapped in a blue sleeping bag that Billie had sewn for Chris from a kit, Walt studies a sailboat scudding beneath the window of his waterfront townhouse. ‘How is it,’ he wonders aloud as he gazes blankly across the Chesapeake Bay, ‘that a kid with so much compassion could cause his parents so much pain?’”

The relationship between the two is reflective of the present relationships in society. Families do not take the time to discuss their issues. This is influenced by the need to prove a point which as a result hurts the entire family. Chris portrays the behavior of children who are affected by divorce. Such children act on impulse so that they can get the attention of their parents. Just like his father, Chris is very opinionated and stubborn. He does not take the time to view the logic in some of the situations.

This is seen in his irrational attempt to venture into another world. Chris takes a journey into the wild; this is not an ideal place to take refuge. He places his life in danger because he is not under the guidance of his father. His father is quite knowledgeable in all aspects of this environment. This decision becomes the cause of his demise in that he dies at an early age. He thus has no chance of restoring the strained relationship he has with his father. This situation would have been avoided if both would have taken the time to express their feelings (Penn and Krakauer, p. 134).

“He had fled the claustrophobic confines of his family. He’d successfully kept Jan Burres and Wayne Westerberg at arm’s length, flitting out of their lives before anything was expected of him. And now he’d slipped painlessly out of Ron Franz’s life as well.”

During his journey, Chris encounters other people who are the same age as his father. Some of the pivotal characters are Westerberg and Ronald Franz. Both characters influence Chris positively by acting as father figures. They are not as fortunate as Chris’s father; they still manage to get through to Chris by showing qualities of nobility and friendship which his father does not display. Despite Chris’s ability to form meaningful relationships with strangers on the road, he manages to create some sort of distance between anyone he encounters.

This shows that he is not willing to set himself up for disappointment. Chris displays a sensitive side to the people he meets. He chooses to live the life of a homeless person for a period of two years. He donates all that he has to people in less fortunate situations making him a compassionate person. It is possible that Chris ventures into the wild to punish his father. He blames him for the unfulfilled life he feels. His kindness towards the strangers he meets is evident that he reciprocates the actions that people present to him. It is however not clear why he chooses to distance himself from his sister with whom he shared a close relationship. This displays the amount of damage that he experiences during his childhood (Sharp, p. 125).


In conclusion, the relationship between Chris and his father is one of a sad nature. It begins with sadness and as a result, ends with sadness. The fact that Chris loses his life at an early age is evident that the feud was irrelevant. It is difficult to derive who is responsible for the occurrences that prevail. On most occasions, the father will take the blame in that he should act as a source of guidance for his son. Into the wild is themed on the significance of family, through the relationship of the two characters, the author explains the effectiveness of communication and the need to create understanding. The book thus acts as an educational tool in that it guides society on the significance of family.

Works cited

Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. London: Macmillan, 2000. Print.

Krakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster. New York: Villard, 1997. Print.

Penn, Sean, and Jon Krakauer. Into the Wild: Screenplay. Hollywood, Calif.: Paramount Vantage, 2007. Print.

Sharp, Michael D. Popular Contemporary Writers. New York: Marshall Cavendish Reference, 2005. Print.

Spurr, Barry, and Lloyd Cameron. Excel Hsc Standard English. Glebe, N.S.W: Pascal press, 2009. Print.


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