First a book, then a movie about the journey of Christopher Johnson McCandless.
What you read below is as I wrote it whilst watching the movie, mostly un-edited. Links and bracketed information added after.
What I like about Alex/Chris is that he wants to establish a name for himself. Everywhere he goes, he adds his name. On the mirror, in the sand, on the sides of the train, in the memories of all he encounters.
Simultaneously, he wants to be left alone, forgotten, to dissappear, to escape society and all its hatred. To loose the chains of being controlled by the system.
Yet he remains controlled, unwittingly. His need to be recognised means that the system somehow society keeps a record of his journey.
Thus, enchained to the very system that he longs to flee.
Watching him chop up a beast he’s shot looks like the most natural act a human would do. There is a slight hesitation on the trigger, but there is no hesitation when he plunges that knife, when carves off a leg, a rump, the head.
Alex/Chris has listened, learned, failed and accomplished so much to ensure he survives.
Some might chunder as he cleaves meat from bone, smokes meat in a rock cairn, digs maggots out of his food, but I just see learning. Watching the wolfs and birds eat what he abandoned is realistically the final lesson: That nature always wins.
His talking to himself is not insanity, it is release, realiasation and finding of his true mind, his real self and the man he bcomes.
When TraceyT begins to sing, it’s obvious a love-story was written into the story-line. Quick and to the point, it gets to the point fast.
It appears to go nowhere but it serves a purpose. Alex was always a man, a gentleman, an honest soul and inevitably going to break the hearts of everyone he met.
What I like is that this movie brings out of me a bunch of issues, memories and wants that have always been there. I remember running away from home at about age 8. I got as far as the petrol-station next door. [We lived here]. I was going to say I have no idea why I did it, but a few moments of thinking remembered a bunch of things about my youth. You don’t need to know them. I am who I am not only because of my youth, but because of the (continueing) effort I have put in to become the person you see before you today. Those who know me well know that I am far from perfect, have faults that run deep, and I, well, I’ve made my own choices.
What is most amusing is how we want to stay connected, to connect with people whom we believe most represent who we think we are or want to be. Online social media is important to those who use the WWW as a plateau through which to live their lives. But I often see it as similar to the way some parents lives their childhood by converting their baby’s into little plastic dolls, with sequins and makeup and frills. Alex/Chris helps me remember that the life I had as a youth was when the internet was much a child as myself.
Mr Franz is a symbolism of everything we’ll become if we give up living. He worried me at first- Society has an ugly way of showing us bad people, by presenting us with charasterisics that we unfortunately associate stereoptypes to people.
At first I imagined him a pedaphile (this is why I have turned off the comments. Not because of people, but because of spam-bots), then he displayed an intellligence that reminded us all that life is far too short to waste doing stupid things. Mr Franz climbed that mountain not just to prove Alex wrong, but also to show that he wasn’t dead yet, he hadn’t stopped living, and to show that his wife and son’s death was not in vain. It’s unfortunate that it took most of his life to realise this about himself. But some things need maturing before being opened.
When he offers to adopt Alex as his grandfather, he expresses a true love, a love that goes beyond mateship. Gotta be amazed by that!
“Son, what the hell are you running from?”
“I could ask the same thing of you, but I already know your answer!”
… You have to see the film to see the rest of this to laugh, cry and watch an 80-year-old man wake up, get up , climb up and do something completely outside his backyard, outside his leather work, outside the death of his family, and totally TOTALLY inspiring.
I won’t deny it, I was crying like a baby, wiping back tears as I watched chunks of this movie.
Man, I constantly imagine how my life would have been if I hadn’t gotten married, hadn’t got a job in government, hadn’t just sat on my sorry ass. I am not old, but I an’t young. Could I start again? Could I start the life I want whilst keeping all that I have acquired, achieved, gained and lost? My sanity dissappeared years ago, many people won’t deny that. I’ve suffered depression of own causing, ambivalnce to overcome the depression, yet never took the drink to dull the pain. Instead I dug myself deep into my passions, my photography, my graphic design – both doing and learning. Yes, the learning is not from a college education, it’s from books, trial-and-error, the internet and listening to my peers. My HS teachers would recall that I didn’t listen too well, I didn’t retain information too well — unless I was passionate about it. I remember a few words of French, I used to remember how to determine the mass of a sphere, I remember studying the city of Troy, and I remember the coolest science teacher. Plus a few interesting encounters with ‘school colleagues’ that will stay buried in the annals of historic blunders. Wow, I said a lot there!
Whilst I watched him read Tolstoy on the bus, I realised I haven’t read enough. I watched him read about plants, in latin and english, and realised what this meant: Learning is knowledge is power is life. Learning to live. Learning isn’t wasted when it is used to become something more than the here and now.
Watching him attempt to regurgitate poison-plants, starve himself to rid his body of the poison, and waste away to skin and bones is amazing. If you’ve never seen method-acting, now you have. I can’t imagine what it took to film this scene, but I bet a lot of effort was put in to not being completely scarred, scared, killed and destroyed by ALL of the elements.
He wrote this between sentences in a boook: “Happiness is only real when shared.” Whilst his body shrivelled, his mind stayed, his ability to think semi-rational appeared to stay with him.
To suggest he died in vain is a lie. He lived more in the last eight years of life than many of us do in our entire lives. Whilst the journey wasn’t as a deep into the wilderness as he surely wanted, it was certainly a journey that I’d love to take.
But don’t imagine Alex is being stupid – he just made a lot of choices that many of us just don’t understand.
I’ve walked a lot of kilometres in the last 26years since HighSchool. By not having a license to drive, I’ve been forced to walk into every photo location. It’s now I realise how important that is. It’s now I realise that my non-want to drive has given me more than most ever get: I see the clouds in true colour, not through a tinted window. I see swept grasses as nature blows her wind across the fields. I see the world in all its glory. I’ve had injuries that most people wonder how on earth is possible, but it’s the earth’s surface that has shown me how fragile, how parasitic and how lonely we are upon this ball of mud.
Loved this movie. Cult classic. See it today.
This last bit I was going to post on my Facebook page, then realised that I want to be seen, heard, remembered and realised for who and what I believe.
I have a motto in life, and I don’t anyone or everyone to follow, believe or even like it:
“You don’t need to believe in a god to do good: You just need to do good.”
I rarely talk about religion because it ain’t my thing and I don’t want to get caught up in other people’s ideas of where the world began, how it was created or what we are here for: We are here, on this rotating ball of mud for a finite time. Use it wisely.
Yes, occasionally along the way we are going to stupid things. They may be prolonged, they may take over our lives – but we can make a choice to change, to evolve, to become, to be much much more than what we are now. Don’t let a figurine define you, let you define you. I don’t usually rant like this, but that movie allowed me to let out all my thoughts, to write again, to write freely and to write what I think what any fear of what you, them, or anyone else might or might not think.
I ain’t perfect, I have faults, I constantly try to rectify them, change my ways, become better, make a difference, and evolve.
I’m closing the comments on WordPress:
Whereever you see this on the WWW, feel free to respond. I might not respond, because this is my word. Your words are about you, about how you think.
If you choose to judge others with your words or thoughts, you are saying more about yourself than you are about them.