How would you describe Chris's personality in Into the Wild?

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chris is a strong-willed, charismatic character. He is a young person with decided opinions and heartfelt convictions, who has been heavily influenced by anti-establishment, idealistic thinkers such as Thoreau and Tolstoy. Chris is the type of person who acts decisively but without necessarily thinking through the consequences of his actions. Late in the story, for example, he heads out for the Alaskan wilderness having thought through some, but not all, of the dangers. 

Chris is a person of strong passions. If he likes you, he pours himself out generously and makes himself very likable. If he doesn't like you, he cuts you off completely and coldly—as he does with his parents, revealing little sensitivity about how much worry or pain he might be causing them. He tends to feel he knows he is right and has no problem lecturing much older people on how they should be living their lives.

Chris's personality is a mix of heady, enthusiastic optimism and a full embrace of "sucking the marrow" out of life. As he is dying, he journals with mature wisdom, generosity, and acceptance. He also displays youthful impulsiveness, a risk-taking mentality, and withering judgments of those, like his father, who are materialistic and do not think as he does. 

gpertell76 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chris was a typical young man who had lived a typical life. He grew up in relative comfort, perhaps even a bit sheltered, from the harsh realities of the world.

Like many college students, he wanted to journey and experience life at its most basic level. I would not describe him as foolhardy as much as I would say that he was inexperienced and ignorant to the harsh realities of the power of mother nature. Many young adults just don't recognize or fully appreciate that, yes, they can in fact die, even at the age of 22 or 23. That lesson comes with age and life experience.

janeyb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to the reminiscences of his family and university friends, McCandless was a seemingly well-adjusted twenty-two-year-old at the time of his disappearance. He was athletic, bright, and a natural-born entrepreneur, excelling at so many things that he tended to be overconfident. A double major with above average grades, he led a life of comparable comfort and good fortune. He worked on the student newspaper at Emory University and, like many other people his age, thought about injustice in the world around him

leighanastasia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yeah...I suppose he seemed well adjusted, althletic and bright but I would describe his personality as shortsighted and foolhardy.

David Henry Thoreau's Waldon Pond was just miles outside of Boston. In fact, from some places near the pond, you can see the city. This was NOT the case for Chris. He was hundreds of miles from a big city in the middle of possibly the most wild national park in all of the US.

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Into the Wild

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