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What are Chris McCandless's ideals?In Into the Wild, Chris McCandless could be...

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alexpainter | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 13, 2010 at 7:51 AM via web

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What are Chris McCandless's ideals?

In Into the Wild, Chris McCandless could be described as an idealist, sticking to his ideals although they may oppose practicality.  What were his three major ideals?

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 20, 2011 at 1:04 AM (Answer #1)

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Your teacher is most likely looking for a specific three ideals from the story, so take these with a grain of salt as they come from my own perceptions on the book.

Chris McCandless has an ideal vision of himself being as close to nature as possible.  He lives outside most of the time, and seems happiest at the moment he is walking off into the Alaskan wilderness.  We see references to Jack London's Call of the Wild and he writes "Jack London is God" on the wall of the bus he stays in.

Another ideal is one of minimalism.  He lives for weeks on a ten pound bag of rice.  His goal in Alaska is to live off the land, even though he is woefully unprepared to do so.

Lastly, I'd say he pursued an ideal of isolation, believing he could only achieve the other two ideals if he dropped out of society and gave up his worldly possessions.  We get a very good sense of this when he burns his remaining cash, driver's license, and Social Security card, after giving away his savings to the charity OxFam.

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