Into the Wild Questions and Answers
by Jon Krakauer

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What did Jim Gallien think about Chris?  

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Jim Gallien is an electrician who picked up the hitchhiking Chris McCandless and gave him a ride to the Stampede Trail, where McCandless walked into the wilderness. Gallien's experience with McCandless is in Chapter One of Into The Wild. Gallien comes off as a caring person, who nevertheless had his suspicions about McCandless. For one thing, Gallien noted, McCandless did not have enough food or equipment to live in the bush for a long period. The gear he did have, like his boots and rifle, were inadequate. When McCandless showed him on a map where he intended to go, Gallien tried to talk him out of it, to no avail. Then he offered to drive Chris to Anchorage to get proper gear, and then drive him back to the trailhead, but McCandless refused that offer too. At first, Gallien thought that he had "picked up one of those crackpots" who come to Alaska for a "Jack London fantasy" (p. 4), but McCandless's intelligence and honest enthusiasm and self confidence seemed to win him over. "He was determined. Real gung ho. The word that comes to mind is excited. He couldn't wait to head out there and get started." (p. 6) Gallien gave McCandless his sack lunch and a pair of boots when he finally droped him off, and McCandless gave him his watch and all of his money (about eighty cents). On the way back to Anchorage, he thought about stopping and telling the police about McCandless, but decided that McCandless will probably just walk out of the bush on his own when he becomes hungry. Gallien is one of a number of men McCandless encountered who seem taken by his youthful determination and try to take care of him in one way or another.

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