What are some of the beliefs Chris held in Into the Wild? Explain.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the central beliefs that Chris McCandless held in his life as he journeyed around America was that he should be independent and self-reliant, based on Emerson's concept of self-reliance. Chris saw anything or anybody who might lure him into being involved with civilisation as being dangerous because he felt it would erode his independence and his ability to trust his own instincts. This is why he deliberately took steps to remove himself from those who would love him, care for him and try and stop him from his aesthetic quest to walk into the wild. Note how the following quote develops this belief that Chris has:

McCandless was thrilled to be on his way north, and he was relieved as well—relieved that he had again evaded the impending threat of human intimacy, of friendship, and all the messy emotional baggage that comes with it. He had fled the claustrophobic confines of his family. He’d successfully kept Jan Burres and Wayne Westerberg at arm’s length, flitting out of their lives before anything was expected of him. And now he’d slipped painlessly out of Ron Franz’s life as well.

At this point in the text, the author establishes that Chris McCandless saw the very generous and touching offer that Ron made to adopt him as his son as yet another "threat" to his determined independence. This is yet one other example of how he deliberately shuns others and keeps them away from him as they begin to care for him and love him, as he saw such relationships and dangerous and counterproductive. Chris also believed that as he journeyed around he should not carry with him any equipment or resources that other backpackers and journeyers would consider essentials, such as a compass, a rifle or a map. For him to be self-sufficient meant being reliant on his wits alone and not any item of equipment that could save him. 

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