Faith A. Scow
AP Language- Period 0
7 October 2014
Chris McCandless, or Alexander Supertramp?
Writers and film makers such as John Krakuaer, Sean Penn and Ron Lamothe have been studying Chris McCandless and juxtaposing his actions with societal characteristics. These people have spent so much time trying to characterize McCandless, they forget to look at him as an individual, as Alexander Supertramp. True sympathetic characters only exist in fiction, and this is true with unsympathetic characters as well. Chris is the type of person who didn’t know what he wanted until he had already done it. It’s pointless to apply these social norms to him. Chris is a sympathetic character because of how others can relate to him and how he was not suicidal but was non sympathetic in the sense of his narcissistic decisions.
The way people can relate to Chris on a deeper level is what makes him a likeable person. Other people, such as myself and my peers can agree with Chris in the words of Emerson that “a man needs to retire as much from his chambers as from society” (Emerson 1). This retirement from society is a prime description of Chris’s odyssey. He dared to do what others wish they had the courage to do, retire from their society into the beauty of the wild. Readers can also sympathize with Chris with his ideal to “kill the false being within” (Krakauer 163). Everyone has some type of flaw within that they wish to diminish like Chris. Chris acting upon this false being makes him admirable to others whom relate to him, such as Ron Franz who ultimately chose to live the nomadic life such as Chris did. This goes to prove how much of an unfluence he was on others. If Chris’s character has the ability to sway someone to abandon all of their material needs and to live a life among the wild, I don’t know what could make him more sympathetic (Krakauer). If a reader can relate to a character, it makes that character easier to view as sympathetic. Chris is...
Cited: Emerson, Ralph Waldo, and Walt McLaughlin. The Laws of Nature: Excerpts from the Writings
of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2010. Print.
Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. Print.
The Call of the Wild. Dir. Ron Lamothe. Terra Incognita Films, 2007. DVD.
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