Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 24

the Wild, the book of photographs by Christopher McCandless published in 2011, with a paragraph written by McCandless’ parents and imbued with the same type of religious motifs, suggesting that Chris McCandless, rather than dying, transcended the physical world: Eighteen years ago our son, Christopher Johnson McCandless, left this world in a remote wilderness location in Alaska in the shadow of Denali. His farewell message gave thanks to the Lord for his happy life and asked for God’s blessing to reach each of us. […] Back to the Wild tells this story through Chris’ original photographs and writings until his journey came to an end in Alaska. As it turned out, however, it was only the physical aspect of his journey that ended. Although we could not have imagined it during the grief-stricken weeks and months that followed Chris’ death, in the ensuing years his story has reached beyond life and past death to touch millions of readers. (http://www.christophermccandless. info/backtothewild.html) It is as if, according to his parents, McCandless’ senseless death had been a necessary rite of passage in order to fulfill a greater purpose: their son “left this world” but “it was only the physical aspect of his journey that ended.” We are to deduce that the journey McCandless was pursuing could only have been of a metaphysical nature, and from there to beatification, there is only a very short step. 
 Besides catering to the sanctification of McCa