Xie zheng Emre Koyuncu English 106 23rd October 2011 Who found the deep meaning of life, Chris or Timothy? Thesis statement: Chris has a deeper understanding of life than Treadwell. There are basically three points of contrast between the two movies. The first one is the way of communication with other people. The second one is the relationship with animals. For the last one, also the most important one, is the goals of living into the wild.
I believe most of the people in the world love to live in society, because we just think that is the place we are supposed to be. To be more concise, living in civilization, we communicate with our parents and best friends, we can choose food or watch movies which we are most in favor of, and we live in the peaceful life with no big disasters and success. Everything is just at peace and normal. But that is just what most of the people in the world think of. Besides those people, there are always some different people in the world have their own views toward the world.
Some people love chimpanzees like Jane Goodall. She almost devoted her whole life to work with chimpanzee. She first traveled from England to Tonzania to see the chimpanzees when she was 26. By using her strong enthusiasm and patience in
communicating with these shy animals, and she finally earned their trust. ( Jane Goodall).
Timothy and Chris also had a great interest in living into the wild, but their purpose is different from Jane Goodall. Jane Goodall wanted to live into the wild with chimpanzees is simply because she wanted to know what are the behaviors of them. But the reason why Timothy and Chris wanted to live into the wildness is because they both got bored of social life and wanted to find the true meaning of life in the wildness. Timothy and Chris both died at the end, but their way of communication with other people, relation with animals, and goals of living into the wild are totally different.
Because they have a different view toward the life, their experience, and
destiny is also different at the end. This is to say, Chris had a deeper understanding on the meaning of life than Timothy.
Timothy was born on Long Island, New York. He was one of the five children in his family. He was very fond of animals since he was young, and he also kept a squirrel which he named Willie. When he was in college, he began to use drugs because he failed to gain the role won by Woody Harrelson in a show called sitcom Cheers. After he survived from a heroin overdose in year 1980s, he began to think about he needed to do something meaningful in his life. Because he love animals since he was very young, so he traveled to Alaska to see bears and regard them as his closest friends. There, he almost spent 13 years along with bears in Katmai National Park, Alaska.
When he was in the park, he got as close as possible to the grizzly bears, sometimes he even touched them and played with their cubs. Timothy always claimed that bears are our friends, and he would never hurt them by any way. But in October 2003, he was killed by a grizzly bear, this is simply because he chose the wrong time to get close to bears. Although Timothy could be considered a professor of bears because he lived with bears for a long time, there is still one point he missed, one should not get close to bears in fall. This is a time when bears must get as much food as possible to prepare for winter, which means bears will get much more aggressive than usual, so that is why Timothy is killed by his beloved bears. (Timothy Treadwell, 2011)
McCandless graduated from Emory University with high grades in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents are very rich and famous in the local place. So we can see he had a really nice family condition and was a good student, so it seems that he would also have a good job and normal life in the future. But this is not what Chris thought about. Like Timothy, he also got tired of the human society, and he wanted to make a change. So he personally got into the wild, and lived by himself with his 0.22 caliber rifle, books, and a diary of his thoughts. At the Denali park of Alaska, he survived by himself, by killing animals with his gun, and collected water from the river. He explored this remote area and enjoyed the freedom which he felt more interesting day by day. All things seem to go very well, but his luck finally ended on April 1992, because he accidentally ate the toxic food, he finally died of starving.
Although these two people both died at the end, but I think Chris has a deeper understanding of life than Timothy for three reasons
The first one is the way of communication with others. For the Timothy, he does not really have a willingness to communicate with others. Though the whole movie, we can see that he just traveled by himself, with his only companion, his digital camera. So the only way that he communicate with other people is by going through the camera, which represents an indirect contact way. And you also can find many times on his video, in which Timothy said he hated all humans. He said he felt very uncomfortable while communicating with people, and he even claimed he had a better and more comfortable feeling when he communicate with bears and foxes.
Furthermore, Timothy, in most of the time, just acted like a child, and he used a childish way to communicate with others. There is a scene in the movie, in where Timothy is standing on the grass toward a grizzly bear which only stand 10 meters from him, he also measured the bearâ€™s size with his own body by way of comparison. and he just acted in a childish way and said â€œoh he is a big bear. He is a very big bear. A very big bear....â€? (Ellen Brinks, 305).So his appealing of treating animals as friends may only get accepted by few groups of people such as children, because in stead of telling how dangerous and violent bears are, he just wanted to spread the ideas that bears are friendly to us and they are lovely. Therefore, in most of the cases, it is hard for adults to accept such a childish way to propagate an idea. So based on the above
two points, Timothy is just a lonely warrior in the world with no true friends. He repeatedly said that he hated humans, and he just wanted to get rid of human society and to live in his own way. Because of this, the audiences also do not like and accept what Timothy wanted to propagate the information to them just because Timothy treated all people as his enemies.
In Into the wild, Chris was different from Timothy, he did not treated humans as his enemies, he just felt bored in living the human society. What Chris wanted is to communicate with others, and there were many people who helped him on his way to Alaska. The first people he met are Jan and Rainey, a couple, in Northern California ( Into the Wild), and Chris built quite good relationship with them in few days. We can see Chris hang out with this couple along the beach, and they also ate together around the fire. Next, on his way to Slab City, the region of California, he met the couple, Jan and Rainey again. Of course they were both very happy to see each other. One day when Chris attended a party, he met a young girl, Tracy Tatro, who fell in love with him. And at that time, Chris also had a good feeling toward that beautiful girl. But sadly, they did not develop so much because Chris had strong willing in keeping his dream-going to Alaska and find the true happiness. The last person he met is Ron Franz, a retired man who lost his wife and children in a severe car accident. This is a person who gave Chris a great help, and he also taught Chris many surviving skills such as how to make clothes, hunting and how to protect himself when facing danger. After a few month, when Chris finally decided to go, Ron Franz said he
wanted to adopted Chris as his grandson, but Chris finally refused.
The second difference is in their relationship with animals. For Timothy, he had a strong belief that killing animals is just like murdering. Because of this stubborn thought, he finally died just as what he expected at the beginning. In the movie, grizzly man,we can easily find that he again and again said that he will never ever kill the animals, even if he is killed by them. He treated those bears as his family, he wanted to get as close as possible to bears, and sometimes even touch them. He might have considered everything on how to build relationship with bears, but there is one important thing that he missed: bears might not want to be friends with him.
Chris had a different view toward the animals. His purpose was to get away from human life and use his own skills to live in the nature, to feel what real life is without human beings. So the different thing from Timothy is he might not have a feeling of loving animals so much or making friends to them. What he wanted is the freedom of living in the nature. There a one scene in the movie, he used his 0.22 caliber rifle to kill a deer in the forest, although he did not eat it through the whole time, but what on his mind is life is just like this, if I do not kill you to get energy, then I will die or get killed by others. The essential reason why Chris and Timothy have different views above is due to their difference in education. We know Timothy was a collage student, but he almost did nothing in collage except having drugs. Chris was totally different, he got all A in his grades. That means Chris would not treat things as childish as
Timothy did. So compared to Timothy, Chris acted more like a adult.
The third differences between them are the goals. What Timothy pursued in the wild is a strong relationship with animals, and living with bears like a family. So by using his camera, he wanted to show us bears are not as violent as we think. In the Grizzly man, we can see a lot of times that Timothy got very close to bears, and once there was a bear in the river for food, maybe Timothy got too close to it which made the bears think this man wanted to rob its food, so that bear has a tendency to attack Timothy, but finally it gave up by Timothy’s threatening.
As for Chris, what he was pursuing in the wild was the true happiness. At the beginning, the reason why Chris wanted to get away from the society was because he felt disappointed about human relationship. Take his parents for an example, Chris’s parents wanted to buy him a new car, but the true reason why they did so was because they thought his son’s old car made them like losing the face in front of others. Chris hated this hypocritical relationship between human, and this is the essential factor which activates him to live in to the wild. Also, different from Timothy, Chris had a willingness to build good relationship with people, for example the girl, the couple. These are all the people he is willing to talk to, so at the end of the movie, Chris finally found that true happiness occurs only when we shared.
Based on all I have discussed, I think Chris has a deeper understanding of what the
true life is than Timothy. Although Timothy has a strong willingness to build good relation with bears, he missed his target at the beginning, because what he wanted to communicate with were Grizzly bears, the most violent creatures in the world, they are different from small animals like foxes. These wild animals are different from humans. The only mind of wild animals is to search food and eat it, so it is so dangerous to get close to these animals. Also, we cannot add our own feelings to the animals, because this is too unfair to those animals. We might think getting as close as possible to them and touching them is a way of loving them, but those animals might not think so. They may believe you want to rob its area or food. Chris did well on this point, he knew what is the real nature of life, he knew in order to keep lives continually develop into the nature, there must be some creatures supposed to die and give the energy to others to keep them alive. Chris also understood the true happiness was only occurring when we shared with other people, compared to Timothy just believe himself with no others. Based on that, although both of them died at the end, but Chris definitely had the deep understanding of what is the real meaning of life.
Reference Jane Goodall. The Jane Goodall Institute, n.d. web. 2011 http://www.janegoodall.org/jane-goodall Brinks, Ellen. Uncovering the Child in Timothy Treadwellâ€™s Feral Tale. The johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. Print. Timothy Treadwell. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, n.d. web. 21 October 2011 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Treadwell Into the Wild (film). Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, n.d. web. 17 October 2011