From Into the Wild, where does the following quote occur?"Chris had so much natural talent," Walt continues, "but if you tried to coach him, to polish his skill, to bring out that final ten...

From Into the Wild, where does the following quote occur?

"Chris had so much natural talent," Walt continues, "but if you tried to coach him, to polish his skill, to bring out that final ten percent, a wall went up. He resisted instruction of any kind."

Expert Answers
belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 

This quote occurs in Chapter Eleven, which recounts Chris's youth and the way his mind and his ideas progressed. The chapter goes into detail about the way Chris clashed with his parents, especially his father; Chris had a tendency to fight in passive-aggressive ways instead of confrontation, and often kept his true feelings bottled up inside. He also refused to really push himself in skills at which he was naturally gifted:

"Chris had so much natural talent," Walt continues, "but if you tried to coach him, to polish his skill, to bring out that final ten percent, a wall went up. He resisted instruction of any kind."
(Krakauer, Into the Wild, Amazon.com)

This is likely an artifact of Chris's refusal to accept his father's criticisms and advice; instead of acknowledging his weaknesses and taking steps to overcome them, Chris would shut down and refuse to continue. He liked to discover his talents by himself, by his own merit, and refused to understand that instruction is not the same as undue influence. It is almost as if Chris thought that guidance would corrupt the purity of his accomplishments.

 

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Into the Wild

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