Contrasting Treadwell and McCandless

Compare and Contrast of Treadwell and McCandless When reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer as it documents the Journey Chris McCandless took and watching the movie The Grizzly Man as it documents Timothy Treadwell’s journey to document bears I was struck by how similar the two men, McCandless and Treadwell, really were. Yes, there were a great many differences between the two but also by how similar they were. While both men showed how they hated modern society and felt a strong desire to live outside of our society, they both also had very different takes on Alaskan wilderness and how to survive in their Journeys.
Just as both loved the outdoors, however, the two had very different practices concerning it. Treadwell would return to society every summer to work and prepare for his next outing and Treadwell refused to take a gun with him. In contrast, McCandless spent all of his time outdoors and away from human society unless he absolutely needed to and carried a gun with him into the wilderness. Treadwell and McCandless both felt very constrained by human society and preffered to live out in the wilderness if possible.
While Treadwell would return to human society for work and to raise money or his next outing or teach others about what he learned of the bears, McCandless tried to spend as much time as he possibly could away from other humans. In Chapter five of Into the Wild it was documented that McCandless had spent at least thirty-six days without seeing another human at one point and throughout the first six chapters it is documented that the most time he ever spent in one place was two months in order to raise money to go to Alaska. Furthermore, McCandless did his best to keep people distant from him by changing his name and giving false nformation.

McCandless did his best to not tell anyone where he was going, cut off all ties with his parents, and took no one with him when he went to Alaska. Comparing this to Treadwell, who told people where he was going, how long he was staying, and at a certain point started to take his girlfriend and it shows a great difference between the two men. Treadwell was a peaceful man, if unhinged due to mental disorders he refused to treat. He loved the animals he documented in his time in the wilderness, expecially the bears, and swore to never hurt them.
Due to his, Treadwell never took a gun, pepper spray, or even bear repellent with him during his ten years of going to the Maze. Though essentric, Treadwell was actually rather smart in keeping the animals calm as he interacted with them. McCandless, though he displayed no real inclinations towards violence, was aware of the dangers in the wilderness. He knew the dangers of bears and wild animals and had taken a gun with him, a . 22, in order to hunt and possibly for protection even if he knew it would not actually be effective against large animals such as moose, caribou, or bears.
The two men had very different views of the animals in the wilderness as is shown by this. Treadwell loved them to the point he would rather risk death then harm them while McCandless saw the dangers and prepared for them. The two men also greatly differed in how they prepared for their trips. Treadwell was well prepared with pleanty of provisions and the nessisary gear. This became more prevalent during his final years due to him having his girlfriend with him as he Alaskan wilds brought on by Jack London’s books, among others, resulted in him being woefully unprepared. When entering the Alaskan wiled the first day,
McCandless only had some spare clothes, some books, a few pounds of rice, and his gun. The two men died in the Alaskan wilds due, mostly in part, to their recklessness and over-estimation on how much they could handle. Treadwell stayed longer than he should have and this resulted in both he and his girlfriend tragically dying at the jaws of a starving grizzly. Had they left as planned instead of returning to the wilds due a mishap the two would have survived. McCandless went into the wilds and did surprisingly well for himself due to sheer dumb luck that eventually ran out.
His choice to go unprepared and believing he could live off the land proved fatal when he was unable to get enough food and he slowly starved to death Just days before hunters arrived at the shelter that became his temporary grave. The two men showed a remarkable love for the wilderness and strove to change their lives for the better and live amongst the romanticized versions of what is actually a harsh reality. Despite both men dying in the wilderness, personal opinion leads me to believe that McCandless was more successful in his ultimate goal to change his life.
Treadwell ad wanted to raise awareness of the bear’s plight and protect them but had more than likely severely damaged the bears by habituating them to humans that could lead to more fatalities. McCandless had wanted to change his life, find a purpose. He wanted to leave society behind and see if he could truly live away from it. While he ultimately died in Alaska his entire trip before the event, traveling cross country, and even to Mexico, had changed his life and views. Prior to his final days in Alaska it was shown that McCandless had achieved what he had set out to get, his own happiness.

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