From Into the Wild, what arguments support the idea that Chris should be blamed for his death?

Expert Answers
belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chris McCandless deliberately cut himself off from society in a journey to find himself. In doing so, he made the mistake of never fully revealing his location to others, preventing them from keeping tabs on him while he lived alone in Alaska. He also didn't fully prepare himself for a life of hunting and gathering, which by definition do not provide a steady, reliable food source. While he made some preparations, such as bringing a book on edible wild plants and a rifle, he did not adopt the proper mindset, nor did he take better precautions against starvation. Some also see it as a deliberate suicide, based on a letter he wrote:

"If this adventure proves fatal and you don't ever hear from me again I want you to know you're a great man. I now walk into the wild." When the adventure did indeed prove fatal, this melodramatic declaration fueled considerable speculation that... when he walked into the bush, he had no intention of ever walking out again.
(Krakauer, Into the Wild,

This position cannot be corroborated, however, and most people who talked to Chris claimed that he had a great love of life. In any case, the "blame" for his death is certainly a result of his own actions; however, there were many other factors, many of which were accidental. The river being flooded when Chris decided to return to civilization, for example, is simply coincidence, and yet instead of trying to cross at a shallower area Chris simply returned to his bus and starved. In the sense that he could have done more to save himself, Chris could be "blamed," but in the sense that his death might have been unavoidable, it was a function of his mindset and his environment.

rareynolds eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are plenty of arguments that McCandless was responsible for his own death. I thnk the main one, however, has to be that he simply did not know what he was getting himself into and had a certain kind of privileged arrogance that led him to believe that he could “read up” on edible plants and dressing game and survive in the wild. In the first chapter, Krakauer interviews Jim Gallien, the man who gave McCandless a lift to the trailhead that marked the beginning of his trip. Gallien noticed that Chris brought only a sack of rice for his food, and his rifle was too small to hunt moose and caribou. He didn’t have a compass, or a good map. But McCandless could not be talked out of his adventure. As Gallien said, Chris was “excited. He couldn’t wait to head out there and get started.”

prfrbest | Student

McCandles made a choice to live a life alone. He was a highly introvort character who searched the deep meanings in the events taking place in life.

so as he made the choice himself, he is subject to be blamed for his own death though it has been shown that his death has made a lots of change in the story. he died a meaningful death though it must be concluded that he is responsible for his own death.


Read the study guide:
Into the Wild

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question