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I am sure that Krakauer was drawn to recount McCandless’ story, and to explore the motives behind his relentless drive, as he felt that there were parallels with his own experience. He states in the Author’s Note-
I won’t claim to be an impartial biographer. McCandless’ strange tale struck a personal note that made a dispassionate rendering of the tragedy impossible…I interrupt McCandless’ story with fragments of a narrative drawn from my own youth. I do so in the hope that my experiences will throw some oblique light on the enigma of Chris McCandless.
Krakauer illustrates that although McCandless was unusual, he was not unique in being driven to pit his wits and strength against the forces of nature. He recounts the similar experiences of Everett Ruess who disappeared in the thirties. Krakauer talks to Ken Sleight, who followed the story of Ruess. He observes
Everett was a loner, but he liked people too damn much to stay down there and live in secret the rest of his life. A lot of us are like that …We like companionship, see, but we can’t stand to be around people for very long.
When Krakauer recounts his own experiences, he reflect on how they were similar in motivation to McCandless’ but without the tragic end-
I suspect we had a similar intensity, a similar heedlessness, a similar agitation of the soul.
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