Name two qualities that Walt McCandless and his son have in common and support each with a quote from Chapter 11 of Into the Wild.

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can see why you are requesting thoughts specifically about Chapter 11 in regards to Walter McCandless and his son. It is the chapter where their relationship is explained in the most detail. If I simply “named” these qualities as you ask, this would be a very short answer, indeed. Therefore, I will name a few qualities in my topic sentence and explain them with the use of quotes specifically from Chapter 11.

Chris and his father share the qualities of introversion, wanderlust, and fearlessness. First, Chris is just like his dad in the sense he is an introvert.

He was very to himself ... he could be alone without being lonely.

This is mostly recounted by Chris’ sister, Carine. She does mention specifically about Chris that, despite his introversion, he was still popular. Secondly, Chris and Walt share the quality of “wanderlust,” which is often described simply as an intense desire to travel, especially to the far reaches of the earth. This would certainly describe what we know about Chris and is mentioned very specifically in Chapter 11.

There was always a little wanderlust in the family, and ... Chris had inherited it.

Finally, both Chris and Walt are fearless and brave. This is a quality that causes Walt to be quite proud of his son. Walt recounts many memories about this one particular quality. Again, in Chapter 11, the quality of fearlessness is mentioned specifically.

Chris was fearless even when he was little. … He didn't think the odds applied to him.

Why does this quality have such an importance with Walt? Because this quality is incredibly masculine and Chris shares this quality with his dad.

These three qualities, then, show a similarity in personality between Chris and his dad, Walt. The qualities mentioned above (introversion, wanderlust, and fearlessness) can definitely be found later in the book, throughout Chris’ adventures and even in the eventual outcome of the story.

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter eleven communicates that Chris and his father, Walt, shared intense personalities. As Krakauer notes as he speaks with Chris's father:

 Even from across the room it is apparent that some very high voltage is crackling through his wires. There is no mistaking whence Chris’s intensity came. 

We know that Chris himself was a very intense person. For instance, he gave an inheritance to Oxfam and burned his cash so that he could be free of materialism. This shows a more intense dedication to convictions than the average person would display.

The chapter also asserts that Chris's father "worked hard." We know that Chris is also a hardworking individual. For example, his manager at McDonald's was impressed with how hard he worked at a menial job and how reliable he was. 

Chris and his father also shared a love of hiking.  As the book notes:

Hiking up the mountain became a father-son tradition; they climbed Old Rag almost every year thereafter. 

Despite that they became estranged from each other, Chris and his father were very much alike. Of course, that often is what sets people at odds with each other. 


dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Walt McCandless shared a number of qualities with his son Chris.  Perhaps the most striking of these is a deep underlying intensity.  The author says of Walt, "the set of his jaw betrays an undercurrent of nervous energy...there is no mistaking from whence Chris's intensity came".  Father and son also shared an interest in traveling, and exploring the great outdoors.  In recounting some of the trips on which he took his family, Walt says, "there was always a little wanderlust in the family, and it was clear early on that Chris had inherited it".  In addition to his proclivity for rugged adventure, Walt had fine talent in music, which Chris, who at various times in his life played the guitar, piano, and French horn, seemed to inherit as well. Walt states that "both Chris and Carine shared (his) musical aptitude" (Chapter 11).

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Into the Wild

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