English II H, Section 1
27 February 2014
The Chris McCandless Story: The Author’s Perspective
Christopher Johnson McCandless was an American hiker who adopted the alias Alexander Supertramp and ventured into the Alaskan wilderness in April 1992 with little food and equipment, hoping to live simply for a time in solitude. Little did his family and friends know, but when Chris stepped into the Alaskan wilderness, he would never come out alive. Jon Krakauer documents Chris’s journey and the people he met on the way to his final destination. He struggled throughout his chronicling of Chris’s life to determine what drove Chris to leave his family and friends and go into the wild. Krakauer interrupted McCandless’ story with fragments of a narrative drawn from his own youth and experiences because he knew he could help the reader better understand the reasons why Chris went into the wild.
Jon Krakauer interrupted his documentation of Chris McCandless’s life with a story from his own past because he understood Chris’s reasons to go into the wild because of their common personality traits. In their obsessions to go out and prove themselves, to survive extreme conditions and to live through the life-or-death situations they encounter for the reward of a rush of adrenaline, both the author and his subject show themselves to be extremely independent, impulsive, and ambitious. In the author's words, they had "a similar intensity, a similar heedlessness, a similar agitation of the soul" (155). One of the reasons for both men's aptitude to follow through with their spontaneous plans seems to be that each one is bent on proving something – either to themselves or to those around them. At one point, Krakauer mentions that "the thought of returning to Boulder in defeat wasn't very appealing" (146), a thought which seems to be one of his main motivators in the climb up Devil's Thumb. In a similar fashion, McCandless often refused help from people he met on the road, hoping...
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