What historical, biographical and literary connections does Krakauer use to show his view of the virtues and/or vices of Chris McCandless?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In chapters 8 and 9 John Krakauer explains to his readers that he got a lot of criticism for his article in Outside on Chris McCandless.  Many of the magazine's readers wrote letters to Krakauer venting their frustration about Chris.  Many saw him as a complete crazy or an anti-social bum who was ill prepared for the Alaskan wilderness.  

"Why would anyone intending to 'live off the land for a few months' forget Boy Scout rule number one: Be Prepared?"

Krakauer spends chapters 8 and 9 discussing four other men who were drawn to the wilderness in similar ways to Chris.  The first three men are Gene Rosselini, John Waterman, and Carl McCunn.  Each of those men thought that they could live off of the land in Alaska, and each of those men failed. Krakauer uses those men to point out that Chris is not an anomaly.  Krakauer also uses those three men to point out how Chris was different and better prepared than each of those men that famously failed in their journey into the wild.  The fourth man that Krakauer uses to compare and contrast to Chris is Everett Reuss.  Everett is probably the most like Chris.  Similar to Chris, Everett also took on a pseudonym (Nemo), and took to successful wandering for quite some time.  Like Chris, Everett also wound up dead. 

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