"Into the Wild" help please!? Identify two specific details or examples (using quotes) from Chris McCandless’ childhood/high school years that seem to predict his later behavior.  What is it about these events that help to explain his actions as an adult?

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Near the end of his trip, it turned out, Chris had gotten lost in the Mojave Desert and had nearly succumbed to dehydration. His parents were extremely alarmed when they heard about this brush with disaster but were unsure how to persuade Chris to exercise more caution in the future. ...

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Near the end of his trip, it turned out, Chris had gotten lost in the Mojave Desert and had nearly succumbed to dehydration. His parents were extremely alarmed when they heard about this brush with disaster but were unsure how to persuade Chris to exercise more caution in the future.
"Chris was good at almost everything he ever tried," Walt reflects, "which made him supremely overconfident. If you attempted to talk him out of something, he wouldn’t argue. He’d just nod politely and then do exactly what he wanted."

This passage shows how Chris would push himself to extremes and not take care of his health. He was a person who did what he wanted to do, no matter what anyone else thought of it. His sister describes coming in to see him laying on his bed, frightfully thin. In his desire to spend time outdoors and pursue the life of a wanderer, Chris was willing to take on physical damage and put himself in danger. This foreshadows his eventual fate in Alaska. He wasn't willing to compromise or hold back when he needed to.

Chris had purchased the secondhand yellow Datsun when he was a senior in high school. In the years since, he’d been in the habit of taking it on extended solo road trips when classes weren’t in session, and during that graduation weekend he casually mentioned to his parents that he intended to spend the upcoming summer on the road as well. His exact words were "I think I’m going to disappear for a while."

This passage also shows Chris's tendency toward running away—even before he found out more details about his parents that disillusioned him. Chris was very disconnected from other people. He had already decided that he would no longer give or receive gifts, including a new car or extra money toward law school. He wanted to be alone, rather than a part of his family or social group. Even though he came back and tried to connect with people in college, he was never a social creature. Instead, he was someone who found his purpose on the road, alone, and in transit.

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This question is a good question. Evidence that hinted toward McCandless's eventual solo journeys and "later behavior" are plentiful in the text; however, most of the really solid examples are from McCandless's college years. The question makes things harder by specifying high school or earlier; however, there is evidence that foreshadows his future. Chapter 11 has a really great paragraph about an experience that McCandless had in third grade. He scored really well on a standardized test, and he was then put in an accelerated program. McCandless wasn't happy about it and tried everything he could to get out of the extra work. His teacher saw what was happening and informed McCandless's parents that "Chris marches to a different drummer."

In the third grade, after receiving a high score on a standardized achievement test, Chris was placed in an accelerated program for gifted students. “He wasn’t happy about it,” Billie remembers, “because it meant he had to do extra schoolwork. So he spent a week trying to get himself out of the program. This little boy attempted to convince the teacher, the principal—anybody who would listen—that the test results were in error, that he really didn’t belong there. We learned about it at the first PTA meeting. His teacher pulled us aside and told us that ‘Chris marches to a different drummer.’ She just shook her head.”

The third-grade experience shows that as an 8 or 9 year old, McCandless already had a stubborn and independent spirit.

McCandless's sister, Carine, gives Krakauer a good testimony about McCandless in chapter 11 as well.

“Even when we were little,” says Carine, who was born three years after Chris, “he was very to himself. He wasn’t antisocial—he always had friends, and everybody liked him—but he could go off and entertain himself for hours. He didn’t seem to need toys or friends. He could be alone without being lonely.”

Her comment shows readers that McCandless had, from an early age, the inclination and ability to spend long periods of time by himself. He was perfectly capable of being social; however, McCandless preferred solitude.

She also states that McCandless showed a "wanderlust" at an early age too. He loved simple camping, and the lengthy camping trips were always his favorite.

“We camped out of the back of the truck, the Chevy Suburban,” Walt explains. “Later we bought an Airstream trailer and traveled with that. Chris loved those trips, the longer the better."

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Chris McCandless was an adventurer all of his life. In Krakauer's book, the chapter entitled, "Chesapeake Beach" we read about Chris's childhood.  Walter McCandless Jr. describes Chris as a boy who was always being "pulled back from the edge."  On page 106 Krakauer writes:

"It is impossible to know what murky convergence of chromosomal matter, parent-child dynamics, and alignment of the cosmos was responsible, but Chris came into the world with unusual gifts and a will not easily deflected from its trajectory.  At the age of two, he got up in the middle of the night, found his way outside without waking his parents, and entered a house down the street to plunder a neighbor's candy drawer."

Another example of Chris's independent and wandering nature on page 109 Krakauer relates the story of a time when Chris was older and his father took the family on a camping trip to Longs peak in Colorado.  They were hiking a mountain with an elevation of 14,256 feet.  Walt got tired and decided to turn the family back at 13,000 feet and

"Chris wanted to keep going to the top.  I told hin no way.  He was only twelve then so all he could do was complain.  If he'd been 14 or 15 he would have simply gone on without me.  Chris was fearless even when he was little."

There are other examples of Chris's nature and rebellion throughout this section of the book.  The time he qualified for advanced classes and tried to convince the teachers that the test scores were a mistake because he didn't want to do the extra work is another indication of his independent spirit. 

For those people who wished to look closely they could have seen that this young man was a wanderer and that he had the personality to be influnced by the great adventure writers and take off on his own adventure.

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