What sort of person does Chris McCandless appear to be based on the information in Into the Wild? Cite details from the text to support your answer.

Based on the information in Into the Wild, to many readers Chris McCandless comes across as lacking in sound judgment. An obvious example would be his woeful lack of preparation for making such a potentially dangerous trip to the Alaskan wilderness.

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In Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer presents a multifaceted portrait of Chris McCandless. Chris is presented as having a complex personality, with both a good side and a bad side to it. Among other things, this serves to make Chris and his remarkable story much more interesting.

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In Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer presents a multifaceted portrait of Chris McCandless. Chris is presented as having a complex personality, with both a good side and a bad side to it. Among other things, this serves to make Chris and his remarkable story much more interesting.

In answering the question about what kind of person Chris McCandless was, it's necessary to be somewhat selective, to highlight certain qualities that tend to stick out. This is an entirely subjective opinion, but one would say that the relevant quality that comes out the most from a reading of Chris's story would be his lack of sound judgment.

At various points in the story, Chris is so determined to run away from civilization and do his own thing that he fails to make even the most basic preparations for his journey. This would be bad enough in most cases, but when you're heading out into the fearsome Alaskan wilderness, such a lack of preparation is, at best, foolish and at worst, almost suicidal.

There's also a hint of arrogance in Chris's lack of preparedness. For instance, he completely ignores the sage advice of the truck driver Gaylord Stuckey, who tells him in no uncertain terms that it's way too early for him to think about living off plants in the Alaskan wilderness, as there are still several feet of snow on the ground. Stuckey is the local and Chris is the outsider, yet in ignoring Stuckey's advice, Chris acts like he knows better. As events will show, however, he most certainly does not.

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Part of Krakauer’s point in writing the book is to provide a multi-faceted portrait of McCandless. The “sort of person” he is depends on point of view. For Jim Gallien, who picked Chris up while he was hitching his way across Alaska, Chris was smart, certain of himself, incredibly naive, and “excited” about the prospect of living in the bush. For Ron Franz, the retiree who developed a relationship with Chris for several months, Chris was the grandson he never had. For his parents, Chris was a high-achieving student who suddenly turned on them and disappeared, seemingly with the intention of hurting them. To his sister, he was a co-sufferer in their family’s dysfunction. Which Chris was the real one?

It's tempting to judge Chris for his actions. I think it is more accurate, however, to say that Chris, like many young people, wasn’t any "sort" of way but rather was engaged in a project of self-discovery or self-creation. The people around Chris naturally reacted one way or another to his personality, but their reactions were not who Chris was. To me, the defining characteristics of Chris were his belief in his own ability and his sense that in going to the wild he could come to understand “who he was.” There’s a kind of contradiction at the heart of that conceit, however: even the effort to “lose oneself” is an act of self-absorption. If Chris was any "sort" of person, he was the sort that saw himself as a mystery, and he thought that in going to the bush he could figure it out.

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Christopher Johnson "Chris" McCandless was born to wealthy and well-educated parents and grew up in affluent suburbs in California and Virginia. He was a good student and active student-athlete, captain of his high school cross-country team and graduated from Emory, an elite southern private university. This background meant that he was intelligent and well educated; Jim Gallien said of him: "He read a lot. He used a lot of big words. I think maybe part of what got him into trouble was that he did too much thinking."

The downside of this element of his character was a great degree of arrogance and unwillingness to take advice or make compromises. Even though McCandless was unprepared for life in the Alaskan wilderness andlacking essential gear, he resisted advice from people who were far more knowledgeable than he was concerning strategies for survival. 

McCandless was stubborn and idealistic. Even in high school he was considered one who "marched to the beat of a different drummer." In giving away his money and embarking on a vagabond lifestyle he showed little understanding of practical realities but instead organized his life around a sort of ideal of freedom and connection with nature, progressively stripping away what he saw as the stifling conventions of modern middle class life. 

 

 

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Chris McCandless is a loner that lives by his own set of rules.  He feels that his business is his business.  He is not a fan of government that's for sure.  

“Hell, no,” Alex scoffed. “How I feed myself is none of the government’s business. Fuck their stupid rules.”

For further evidence you could use the part where Krakauer discovered that Chris usually filled in his tax information with a fake name and address.  

Chris is incredibly focused on himself and his goals.  That's not to say that he doesn't care for other people.  He does.  The text clearly indicates that Chris made some deep friendships throughout his two year wandering adventure.  The problem is that Chris only stayed around those people when it was good and convenient for Chris.  At one point, Westerberg asked Chris to stick around and help him with a harvest.  Westerberg was really short handed that year and really needed the help.  Chris didn't even consider it, because it would ruin his own plans.  

“I even offered to buy him a plane ticket to Fairbanks, which would have let him work an extra ten days and still get to Alaska by the end of April, but he said, ‘No, I want to hitch north. Flying would be cheating. It would wreck the whole trip.’”

On the whole, I feel that Chris is a very selfish person.  He cares for himself above all others.  As for his family values, I feel that Chris looked for ways to intentionally hurt his mom and dad through his lack of communication with them. 

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