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Discuss some instances where Chris contradicted his beliefs by obeying societal laws in...

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dnovak26 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 28, 2011 at 5:21 AM via web

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Discuss some instances where Chris contradicted his beliefs by obeying societal laws in Into the Wild.

Adhering to Henry David Thoreaus' essay, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience," Chris felt that it was his "moral responsibility to flout the laws of the state" (28). I need some instances when he contradicted this belief.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 28, 2011 at 8:39 PM (Answer #1)

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You might like to approach this question by considering the instances when Chris worked as a law abiding citizen and did nothing to try and defy societal laws and conventions. Every description of Chris that we are given of his employers and his work colleagues presents him as being hardworking and diligent, which is a far cry from "flouting" the laws of the state. He creates no problems and is praised by many of his bosses and working colleagues for his industrious nature. Consider, for example, Chapter Seven, when Chris McCandless works for Wayne Westerberg:

During those four weeks in Carthage, McCandless worked hard, doing dirty, tedious jobs that nobody else wanted to tackle: mucking out warehouses, exterminating vermin, painting, scything weeds.

Again, in Chapter Five, there is nothing unconventional about Chris's actions at this stage of his odyssey. Note how he is described as he works in McDonald's:

At the time he wrote these words, he was holding down a full-time job, flipping Quarter Pounders at a McDonald's on the main drag, commuting to work on a bicycle. Outwardly, he was living a surprisingly conventional existence, even going so far as to open a savings accounts at a local bank.

Clearly, holding down a full-time job and also opening a savings account would be a great example of how Chris, at this stage of his journeying, did nothing to "flout the laws of the state," as Thoreau's essay implores his followers to do.

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