In what ways could Chris McCandless be considered rebellious in Into the Wild?

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Chris McCandless is rebellious because he made choices that went against both his family's wishes and the path of mainstream society.

Chris was aware that his family did not like the choices he was making when he went off the grid. His out-of-the-ordinary personality and lifestyle may have led to...

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Chris McCandless is rebellious because he made choices that went against both his family's wishes and the path of mainstream society.

Chris was aware that his family did not like the choices he was making when he went off the grid. His out-of-the-ordinary personality and lifestyle may have led to his estrangement from his family early in his life before he ever took off to explore the world. It didn't help that he found them hypocritical and thought that they were dedicated to maintaining a lifestyle that looked perfect even if that masked the truth about his parents. When he became aware of his father's previous wife and the truth of how his father and mother became a couple, he rejected their worldview and lost much of his respect for them.

The McCandless family was a family with a very mainstream lifestyle. They wanted their children to work hard in school, attend college, find a job, and live a standard American life. This didn't fit in with what Chris wanted out of life. By rejecting their values—which reflected the values of traditional American society—Chris was rebelling against both his family and the idea that a person needs to live a specific way to be happy. By setting off on his own and living under a fake name, Chris was choosing to live the way he wanted to live.

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Chris McCandless rebelled against his parent's values, which he believed were tied up in materialism. His parents, Walt and Bille, were successful business owners, but Chris refused receive gifts from them. We learn that

Chris had only recently upbraided Walt and Billie for expressing their desire to buy him a new car as a graduation present and offering to pay for law school if there wasn’t enough money left in his college fund to cover it.

He also refused to give them presents, though he did give his mother candy and flowers for Mother's Day soon after he graduated from college. He wrote to his sister,

I’m going to have to be real careful not to accept any gifts from them in the future because they will think they have bought my respect.

The above quote crystallizes Chris's rebellious rejection of the American Dream: most young people would appreciate being in a position to receive cars and law-school educations from their parents.

Instead, Chris sees his father's materialism as a way his father hypocritically glosses over his failures as a parent and a human being. Chris is particularly shocked to find out that his father had another family—Chris's half-siblings—about whom Chris knew nothing while growing up.

Not wanting to be like his father, Chris leaves home without telling anyone where he is going and doesn't stay in touch with any of his family members. He rebels by living as simply as possible.

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Chris McCandless could be considered a rebel for refusing to subscribe to the American Dream or conform to society's expectations on several different levels. Unlike his parents and the majority of American citizens, Chris McCandless completely rejected the idea of accumulating money to participate in the consumer culture and attain material wealth. Instead, Chris chose the transient life of an ascetic and enjoyed traveling the country penniless. He even donated his life savings to Oxfam, a hunger relief organization, and was completely unconcerned with his financial stability. Chris's rebellious nature is also demonstrated by the fact that he turned his back on his family and friends in favor of solitude. Chris's decision to travel alone and experience the natural environment in solitude is considered taboo behavior. Chris's rebellious personality is also illustrated by the fact that he refused to pay taxes, purchase a hunting license, or purchase car insurance. He burglarizes a cabin in the wilderness and trespasses during his numerous adventures. Chris's refusal to follow laws and government policies emphasizes his rebellious personality.

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Chris McCandless could be considered a rebel because he chose to live a solitary life.  You don't have to break laws to be a rebel.  Being rebellious can come down to going against societal norms.  McCandless most definitely did that.  I like my alone time for sure,  ss do a lot of people, but what McCandless did by eschewing almost all human to human contact for weeks and months at a time is definitely rebelling against the norm.  

McCandless did break laws though too in his travels.  I'm sure he broke some minor laws here and there, but the book specifically mentions McCandless breaking federal laws.  For example, McCandless doesn't pay taxes, because he either doesn't fill out his tax forms or he falsifies information on them (including his name).  Another rebellious act of McCandless that goes against standard government rule is him intentionally not buying a hunting license for his travels in Alaska.  

Gallien asked whether he had a hunting license.

“Hell, no,” Alex scoffed. “How I feed myself is none of the government’s business. Fuck their stupid rules.”

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Chris McCandless is the definition of rebellion.  His spiritual or emotional awakening, for lack of a better term, has led him to basically quit society.  He donates his college fund to OxFam, abandons his car, burns his money and ID cards, and turns into a wandering and completely independent man.  Can you think of anyone else who has ever done something similar, and in the mannerthat McCandless did?  Neither can I.

He liked to live off the land, or try to.  He liked to be adventurous for the sake of adventure.  He walks off into the Alaskan wilderness just before winter--into the wild, as it were--woefully unprepared for what he is about to face, and this unpreparedness is, in the end, what kills him.  So, in short, there is rebellion in almost everything he does.

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