What were four of Christopher McCandless's actions/goals in Into the Wild?

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Chris McCandless was much influenced by Thoreau. As Thoreau does in Walden , Chris wanted to "front life" and "suck the marrow" from it, not, on his deathbed, realize he had never really lived. Therefore, like Thoreau, he simplifies his life as much as possible so that he can see...

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Chris McCandless was much influenced by Thoreau. As Thoreau does in Walden, Chris wanted to "front life" and "suck the marrow" from it, not, on his deathbed, realize he had never really lived. Therefore, like Thoreau, he simplifies his life as much as possible so that he can see clearly what is important and not be weighted down by externals.

Second, influenced by his readings of Tolstoy and Thoreau, one of Chris's goals was sexual and moral purity. He goes to Alaska, for example, in part to purify himself. Krakauer writes:

Chastity and moral purity were qualities McCandless mulled over long and often. Indeed, one of the books found in the bus with his remains was a collection of stories that included Tolstoy’s “The Kreutzer Sonata,” in which the nobleman-turned-ascetic denounces “the demands of the flesh.” Several such passages are starred and highlighted in the dog-eared text.

Third, McCandless wanted to escape his parents, especially the materialist influence of his father. Chris writes to his sister that he doesn't want his father to continue trying to "buy" him.

Fourth, in going by himself to the wilds of Alaska, Chris wanted the ultimate test of his mettle. This involved proving to himself that he really could survive on his own in the wilderness for an extended period.

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The question, as it is stated, is asking two different things. Naming four of McCandless's actions is easy.  

  1. He ran away from his parents.
  2. He donated the rest of his college money.
  3. He went to Alaska.
  4. He canoed into Mexico.

Naming four of his goals is a much more difficult question. McCandless was not known for being a talker, and he kept a lot of things to himself. It's one of the frustrations that his parents expressed about McCandless. They never could figure out what he wanted or why he did things the way that he did them.

One goal that I can for sure name is his desire to go to Alaska. Alex wrote about it in a letter to Ron, and several of the people that Krakauer interviewed confirmed McCandless's deep desire to get into the Alaskan wilderness.  

My friend, Wayne, wants me to stay working at the grain elevator through May and then go combining with him the entire summer, but I have my soul set entirely on my Alaskan Odyssey and hope to be on my way no later than April 15.

Another goal of McCandless' was to always seize the day. He didn't want to save anything for another day that he could do right then and there. It's a very romantic motif.  

Along the same lines as that romantic ideal was another goal of his. That goal was to live as simply as he possibly could. That's why McCandless would survive by eating only rice for weeks at a time or get a job long enough to earn enough money to get somewhere else. That mobility was another goal. He wanted to be able to go wherever he wanted to go whenever he wanted to go there.

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