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

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There are many locations within Krakauer's text that a reader could use to support the idea that McCandless is to blame for his own death. One general piece of evidence is McCandless's lack of communication with people. He didn't let anybody know where he was going to be or for...

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There are many locations within Krakauer's text that a reader could use to support the idea that McCandless is to blame for his own death. One general piece of evidence is McCandless's lack of communication with people. He didn't let anybody know where he was going to be or for how long. McCandless also put himself at risk by repeatedly being in the wilderness alone. If an injury happened, he had no way of getting himself help quickly.

For specific information, I would use the book's opening chapter. This chapter introduces readers to McCandless and Jim Gallien. Gallien picks up the hitchhiking McCandless. Gallien is an experienced outdoorsman, and he tells Krakauer that his initial impressions of McCandless were mixed. Gallien thought that McCandless was intelligent and friendly, but completely naive about what it takes to survive in the Alaskan wilderness.

McCandless's gun is woefully under powered and his clothing is inadequate for the terrain and weather. Gallien offers to take McCandless into town and buy him the proper gear, and McCandless stupidly turns him down. I definitely blame McCandless for his own death due to the fact that he didn't enter the wilderness with proper gear.

McCandless also stupidly didn't take a basic topographic map with him. This is something that Krakauer points out to readers late in the book. Had McCandless had this simple and easy to carry item, he would have realized how close he was to getting himself out of trouble. Instead, McCandless stayed at the bus and essentially hoped for rescue.

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It is odd to think that a death by natural causes needs to be "blamed" on anyone. In the case of Chris McCandless, one does not have a murder or a case of abuse or neglect in which any other person is responsible for the death. Instead, Chris made a decision to try to live outside the safety net of civilized society and see if he could survive on his own in the wilderness. He couldn't.

When Jim Gallien encountered Chris, it was obvious that Chris was woefully unprepared for life in the wilderness, in terms of equipment, knowledge, and experience. On this basis, one could say that Chris engaged in extremely risky behavior, with the risk of death being increased by his own lack of requisite skills and preparation. Thus one can say that Chris made decisions which led to his death, but his diaries indicate that he seemed at peace at the end of his life and so rather than thinking of "blame" perhaps one should simply say that he chose to live in a way that endangered himself, but as this harmed no one else, it was simply a free choice made by an adult rather than something blameworthy.

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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.”

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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, Amazon.com)

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.

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