You may have already read his sister’s eulogy that was released this weekend. In it we learn that with family surrounding him Steve Jobs’ last words were, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” I wish I could have been there to hear the tone and pitch and meaning and weight of those words. Were they pensive? Excited? Scared? Triumphant? Sad? All of the above?
I imagine that Chris McCandless’ final words carried a similar sentiment as he took his final breath on Bus 142 in March of 1992. Except Chris was totally alone, penniless, starving and malnourished in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.
What else could you say after a two year adventure of shedding your identity, abandoning every societal norm and embarking on a quest for ultimate truth–with no money, no ID, no family holding you back. What kind of “Oh wow” must Chris have been feeling in those final moments?
This is the story behind Into The Wild. My generation’s modern epic. Our real life Shakespearean tragedy. Our battle cry of what matters. Of what we do and why we do it.
If Steve is the icon, the secular prophet of our technologically obsessed society, than Chris McCandless is his antagonist–an unassuming life demanding that there must be a better way.
There really is no other response to Chris’s short life, his heart, and the questions that take him to places and people and adventures that I will never see… “Oh wow.” (The tone with which you say these two words will depend on how you unpack this film, and Chris’s story, for yourself.)