Into the Wild- Op Ed

Decent Essays
Alyssa Frank
English 102A
Dr. LaFauci
9 December 2010

From “Into the Wild” to “Into Hollywood”

How many times has Hollywood taken a true story and turned it into something different? Hollywood took Chris McCandless’s story and turned it into an overdramatic work of art. Unlike Krakauer’s nonfiction best seller Into the Wild, the movie Into the Wild by Sean Penn overemphasizes ideas or fails to include crucial evidence which twists the viewers understanding of Chris McCandless’s life. The movie overemphasizes Chris’s parents’ relationship and the effect it has on him, creates a love interest for him in “Slab City”, and fails to mention Chris’s knowledge of the wild. Sean Penn’s film skews how people will remember Chris
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Krakauer describes Chris’s knowledge of edible plants and it is also evident in his journals, whereas Penn reveals a lack of knowledge as the cause of Chris’s death. The movie depicts Chris’s death to occur because he could not identify the difference between two similar plants, one poisonous and one not. One may argue that Chris died because he picked the wrong seeds, but that is not the case. Krakauer has done extensive research on the two types of plants and concluded that Chris knew the difference between plants since he had been harvesting the roots and seeds all summer. In reality, it was not that Chris identified the seeds wrong but that he ate the seeds late in the season when the seeds had contained toxic alkaloids or had contained mold. This is a mistake that most people, except trained botanists, could make. But for Chris it ultimately led to his death.

Chris McCandless deserted life as he knew it to get away from his parents, gain his own freedom, and explore nature like the authors he idolized, but the book does not mention that he left in order to find love. The movie presents a love interest for Chris during his visit to “Slab City”. This relationship was not found in Chris’s journal as a reason for his exploration. Chris was looking for freedom and a piece of mind, not a girl to take home with him. Hollywood places relationships in movies just to
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