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What effect did Walt McCandless have on Chris's life and philosophy, and was he the...

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abhishekgp | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2012 at 5:45 AM via web

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What effect did Walt McCandless have on Chris's life and philosophy, and was he the primary cause behind Chris's decision to undertake the journey?

I am more interested in the theme to the story

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slcollins | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted August 27, 2012 at 6:02 PM (Answer #1)

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Many of Walt McCandless’s characteristics influenced Chris, but his materialism and dishonesty seem to have had the greatest influence. Chris was rather disgusted by his parents’ materialism and want for money and things. Chris had a very different philosophy and outlook, preferring the natural world and written word over material possessions. Even more insulting, it seems, was his parents total lack of understanding of Chris’s views on life; nowhere is this more evident than when his parents try to give him a new car; they are quite taken aback when he refuses, showing that they truly don’t understand Chris. To Chris, this action seemed to be proof of their need for control and their oppression of his values. Walt’s dishonesty also played a big role in the way Chris viewed life. Finding out that his father had another family threw Chris into a tailspin. Chris effectively denounces his family from that point on, making a point to give away his savings account and keep his family in the dark about his great adventure. It can be surmised that, yes, Walt was the impetus for Chris taking off into the wild and living his life the way he wanted. 

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