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Jon Krakauer wrote an article on the life and death of Chris McCandless for Outside Magazine, and was fascinated by the circumstances that led to Chris's travels. The message of Into the Wild is both inspirational and cautionary; Chris made many mistakes because he rushed into things, but he lived the life of his own choice, and died in the pursuit of a dream. On the one hand, Chris took his life into his hands and refused to be guided by others; he was a staunch individualist, believing himself capable of dealing with any obstacle through his own willpower and personal ability. However, he also did not take proper training and precautions, and so became a victim of improper preparation. Krakauer, through the book, celebrates Chris's idealism and adventurous spirit, but the text also cautions, through example, that idealism is not enough to survive the harsh wilderness. The very things that make Chris's story fascinating are things that no person should attempt to emulate; before braving the wild, one should prepare and practice rather than charge in blindly.
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