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Chris Mc Candless Is Not A Hero

1472 words - 6 pages

Into the Wild, written by John Krakauer tells of a young man named Chris McCandless who 1deserted his college degree and all his worldly possessions in favor of a primitive transient life in the wilderness. Krakauer first told the story of Chris in an article in Outside Magazine, but went on to write a thorough book, which encompasses his life in the hopes to explain what caused him to venture off alone into the wild. McCandless’ story soon became a national phenomenon, and had many people questioning why a “young man from a well-to-do East Coast family [would] hitchhike to Alaska” (Krakauer i). Chris comes from an affluent household and has parents that strived to create a desirable life for him and his sister. As Chris grows up, he becomes more and more disturbed by society’s ideals and the control they have on everyday life. He made a point of spiting his parents and the lifestyle they lived. This sense of unhappiness continues to build until after Chris has graduated college and decided to leave everything behind for the Alaskan wilderness. Knowing very little about how to survive in the wild, Chris ventures off on his adventure in a state of naïveté. It is obvious that he possessed monumental potential that was wasted on romanticized ideals and a lack of wisdom. Christopher McCandless is a unique and talented young man, but his selfish and ultimately complacent attitude towards life and his successes led to his demise.

To some, Chris is seen as a hero, a young man who succeeded in every challenge he took on. In Chris’ mind, he was his own greatest hero, “he was Alexander Supertramp, master of his own destiny” (23). In reality, McCandless was inexperienced and is not a hero nor does he deserve the wild praises he receives. Many people “live within unhappy circumstances” but do not have the courage to go and reinvent their lives “because they are conditioned to a life of security” (57). For Chris, this untrue, he refuses to settle simply because that was what society expects of him. Chris is discontent with the idea of living within society’s constraints and following the government’s “stupid rules”, so unlike many others, he change[s] his situation (6). McCandless should indeed be praised for his ambition and his courage to go out and actually transform his life to reflect what he felt was right, but criticized for his overarching confidence and narcissistic tendencies. For centuries people have attempted to escape from their redundant daily routines in favor of a more primitive, transient life. The wilderness “is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression”, but harbors a false sense of freedom and enables people to elude responsibilities (15). For the great few who actually succeed in this lifestyle, they undergo intensive preparations to ensure their survival. After high school, Chris took his first solo road trip across the Pacific Coast. On this trip he ended up in Alaska for the first time and “there was...

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