From Into the Wild, what effects did alcohol have on the life of Ron Franz?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ron Franz was an old man who became fast friends with Chris; after leaving, Chris wrote a long letter to Franz and encouraged him to live more freely. Franz had lost his wife and son to a drunk driver; he then started drinking heavily, trying to avoid his pain and sadness. Before he met Chris, he had spent years rejoining society:

...he managed to pull himself together and quit drinking, cold turkey, but he never really got over the loss. To salve his loneliness in the years after the accident, he started unofficially "adopting" indigent Okinawan boys and girls, eventually taking fourteen of them under his wing...
(Krakauer, Into the Wild, Amazon.com)

While the alcohol didn't push Franz to better deeds, it had clearly failed to bring him solace. Franz instead managed to become a positive influence on others despite his great sadness, and he found Chris to be a great influence in his life. After discovering that Chris had died, Franz tried to drink himself to death, but failed; his body couldn't hold the alcohol and he simply became sick. Instead, he started traveling, searching for meaning in his life and for Chris's life, and died a few years later.

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Into the Wild

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