How are the virtues of Chris McCandless and Ben Franklin similar in the relation to the American Dream in Into the Wild?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The similarities between these two figures seem to be based upon their love of American landscape and also the way that both were constantly driven to achieve their goals and aims, even though those goals and aims were very different. This is shown through the way that Chris McCandless is shown repeatedly to be a youth who had incredible intelligence and drive, as shown by the piece of computer programming he did for his father's company that was still being used when Krakauer came to write his reflections of Chris's death. Note the following quote taken from a letter Chris wrote to Ruess:

I have been thinking more and more than I shall always be a lone wanderer of the wildnerness. God, how the trail lures me. You cannot comprehend its resistless fascination for me. After all the lone trail is the best... I'll never stop wandering. 

Here it is possible to see Chris's deep love of the American landscape and his absolute commitment to a way of life that he followed right until his death. Although Franklin had very different dreams and ambitions, what he shared with Chris in terms of his virtues was a similar tenacious commitment to achieving what the goals he set himself to achieve and not letting anything impede him in any way. Both demonstrate the power and potential of the American Dream in their lives through showing that if you are committed enough and driven enough you can be whatever it is you want to be, whether that is a restless wanderer like Alex, or a very different individual, like Benjamin Franklin. 

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Into the Wild

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