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Should the charges about Krakauer be taken seriously in Chapter 8? Why or why not?...

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otepsky | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 24, 2010 at 2:05 PM via web

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Should the charges about Krakauer be taken seriously in Chapter 8? Why or why not?

 

consider how the story of the papar(irish monks) relates to the story of the "outcasts" that Krakauer discusses (chapter 9)

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:49 PM (Answer #1)

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You mean the charges against McCandless?  Kraukauer is the author.

This chapter seems to be a digression from the McCandless story, as Krakauer pads his novel with filler material, tangential stories of others who have died in the wild: Gene Rossellini, a "wayward genius...interested in knowing if it was possible to be independent of modern technology"; John Mellon Waterman, whose "life's work", became an "accumulation of notes, poetry, and personal journals"; Everett Ruess, an artist and writer who died in the Sierras; and the Papar, Irish monks, whose "remarkable voyages were... undertaken chiefly from the wish to find lonely places, where these anchorites might dwell in peace, undisturbed by the turmoil and temptations of the world."

One critic has said that the monks confuse the ends with the means:

The end of the monk's life is service to God through prayer and contemplation; the simple and secluded life is a means to that end. The monks were under no illusion that primitive living was in itself a state of bliss; it may lead to bliss to the extent that the monk opens himself to the grace of God through it. Ultimately, however, whether the monk experiences grace is a matter of the will of God, not his own will.

The same it is for McCandless, whose journey toward solitude in the wild was to spite people, instead of a true inward desire to be an ascetic.  He was arrogant, underprepared, and living vicariously through others' literary mythos: Tolstoy, London, and Thoreau.  He even had a literary persona / alter-ego, Alexander Supertramp, such was his delusion and denial of self.  Of course he conveniently chose not to heed the senseless deaths of those who went before him: Ruess, Rossellini, Waterman, and the Papar.  Krakauer's analogies, although interesting in themselves, are forced into context, as if he was paid by the word.

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