Do you think that Krakauer's empathy for McCandless may have influenced his critical judgement in examining Chris' actions and decisions?

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Krakauer unabashedly makes comparisons with his own youthful mistakes and McCandless' actions. He explains that he is drawn to exploring McCandless' motivations as much to understand the actions of himself and other young men who choose the same precipitous path.

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Krakauer describes himself as a writer who uses his powers of contemplation to uncover deep human truths in the accounts he narrates and researches, such as McCandless's story. He says he combines factual realities with inner perceptions. In Into the Wild, his aim was to unravel some of the mystery of what pulls young men like McCandless to pit their courage and skill against the often unknown entity of nature. In accomplishing these objectives (inner perceptions, factuality, unraveling mysteries), Krakauer's personal contemplations, experience, and imagination undoubtedly come into play.

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In a word, yes.  This isn't the first time I've seen that of Krakauer's work either.  He's mostly biographer, but with a healthy dose of storyteller and lionizer mixed in.  It comes across as straight reporting, but in reality is biased in favor of McCandless.

There are key elements and possibilities to the real story of Chris McCandless that Krakauer doesn't even bring up, much less explore, not in ways an objective biographer would anyway.

What about the possibility that McCandless had a degree of mental illness?  He shows some characteristics of manic and impulsive behavior, but this never comes up in the story.

How about the foolishness of McCandless, and why he was so woefully unprepared for what was supposed to be his life's dream?

McCandless had issues with his parents, understood, but what about his sister, who he essentially just cut off from contact and then ended up dying in the Alaskan wilderness before she could ever see him again.

Don't get me wrong, it's an inspiring, interesting story and I liked it, but I think Krakauer lets McCandless off the hook almost completely.

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