Synthesis Essay - Comparison between Frederick Douglass and Jon Krakauer

Essay by psykokatUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, July 2003

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

It is sometimes said that nothing in life that is worth

having comes easily. I have noticed that what often

separates those who attain their hopes and dreams from

those who do not is that they possess a certain drive

and determination to stop at nothing to achieve those

dreams. Although the two individuals Chris McCandless

and Frederick Douglass lived in different time periods,

and grew up in totally different environments, they

possessed the will to overcome whatever obstacles life

presented them and achieved the goals that they set for

themselves. Chris McCandless was determined to live an

unconventional, nomadic lifestyle like those of his

idols Henry David Thoreau, Boris Pasternak, and the

Jules Verne character Captain Nemo. Growing up, he

waited until the time was right to begin his journey

across the country and into the wilderness. John

Krakauer wrote: Five weeks earlier he'd loaded his

belongings into his car and headed west without an

itinerary. The trip was to be an odyssey in the fullest

sense of the word, an epic journey that would change

everything. He had spent the previous four years, as he

saw it, preparing to fulfill an absurd and onerous duty:

to graduate from college. At long last he was

unencumbered, emancipated from the stifling world of his

parents and peers, a world of abstraction and security

and material excess, a world in which he felt grievously

cut off from the raw throb of existence. (22) Later in

the book we were again given a glimpse of Chris's gritty

determination to achieve a goal that he had set for


During his travels Chris stopped in the small dusty

town of Tapock, Arizona. It was there that he noticed an

old secondhand canoe which he purchased in an attempt to

float from Lake Havasu...