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Into the Wild

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					                                         Into the Wild

To further your understanding of the theme of personal relationships (or lack
thereof) we will be viewing the movie Into the Wild. This is a lengthy movie but
it will certainly guide you toward a greater appreciation of this thematic
concern.

  “There are times in probably every person's life when he or she fantasizes, if only for a moment,
in leaving their everyday responsibilities and mundane routines behind and taking to the open
road. For most of us, the idea is immediately shot down by a conscience that tells us how
impractical it is, and thus, we are left to reserve vacations and special occasions for such
experiences. For 22-year-old college graduate Christopher McCandless, he not only threw these
concerns aside, but he donated away his $24,000 savings and burned the rest of his cash as a
way of freeing himself from the materialistic norms of the rest of society. Call him irresponsible,
call him crazy, but from 1990 to 1992, he made the choice to sever all ties with his family and
live off the land of the earth, moving from place to place and having adventure after adventure up
and down the U.S.'s west coast. His ultimate goal was to reach the wilds of Alaska, a destination
that he did finally reach. The cost of fulfilling his dream, however, was much greater than he
could have anticipated.



Based on the non-fiction book by Jon Krakauer and adapted for the screen by writer-director
Sean Penn (2001's "The Pledge"), "Into the Wild" is a wise and harrowing drama, one part road
picture and one part study in existentialism. The hero of the piece is, indeed, Christopher
McCandless, played by Emile Hirsch (2007's "Alpha Dog") in a performance of breathtaking
sincerity and openness. To follow Chris on his journey does not require that you agree with what
he does, but only that you understand the reasons why. Sure, he is careless and even self-
absorbed, not so much as letting worried parents Walt (William Hurt) and Billie (Marcia Gay
Harden) and trusted younger sister Carine (Jena Malone) know where he is at after picking up
and leaving his old self behind. Nevertheless, the core of his intention is easily relatable; Chris
isn't interested in settling down, working a nine-to-five job, and basically obeying the societal
expectations of conformity, yearning instead for the often unobtainable ideal that is total
freedom.” (http://www.themovieboy.com/reviews/i/07_intothewild.htm)




The assignment which accompanies this movie will involve the following:

   1. The completion of the attached note taking sheet. This should be
      completed in a way that will guide the next part of the assignment (20
      marks).
   2. An essay which focuses on the theme of relationships (this essay will focus
      on both the movie and at least one other text studied in this unit).
                            MOVIE NOTE TAKING SHEET

Make notes under the following headings. Please feel free to attach additional pages to
this sheet. Indeed, this part of the assignment will be marked according to the detail,
insight, and thoughtfulness of your observations.

   o   Characters (list the names of major/ minor characters and consider their role in
       Chris’ journey)




   o   Parent/ Child Relationships ~ why is Chris’ relationship with his parents of
       importance?




   o   Setting (physical and emotional settings – note the shift of settings throughout
       the movie. Relevance?) How do the settings reflect Chris’ need to find himself
       rather than connections with others?
o   Plot (summarize important aspects of the plot – consider conflict here)




o   Other Devices (irony, symbolism, language, allusion etc.)




o   Other Important Notes
                            Into the Wild: Essay Assignment
   Option #1

   Christopher McCandless makes the decision to leave everything that he knows and
   travel to Alaska to live alone in the wild. Discuss Chris’ decision to leave behind
   the materialistic world. How are human relationships shown to be of importance
   to Chris. Make reference to at least one other text which we have studied within
   this unit (either as a comparison or a contrast).

   Your   essay will be assessed according to the following criteria:
      o    Clear thesis statement which outlines the direction of your essay;
      o    Clear understanding of the thematic concerns of two texts;
      o    A concentration on setting and character as to how they relate to theme;
      o    Multi-paragraphed, coherent, logical writing which shows an understanding
           of how structure contributes to meaning.




   Option #2

   Christopher McCandless makes the decision to leave everything that he knows and
   travel to Alaska to live alone in the wild. Discuss how the tenets of existentialism
   are portrayed through the story of Chris’s journey and consider if his choice to
   leave behind the materialistic world really makes him an existential hero.



   Your essay will be assessed according to the following criteria:
      o Clear thesis statement which outlines the direction of your essay;
      o Clear understanding of existentialism as shown through the journey of
         Chris;
      o A concentration on setting and character as to how this does or does not
         create the existential hero;
      o Multi-paragraphed, coherent, logical writing which shows an understanding
         of how structure contributes to meaning.




(50 marks)

				
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posted:6/12/2011
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