What was Chris's relationship with his parents like?

Chris had a very difficult relationship with his parents. He became estranged from them due to the fact that their values were different from his. Whereas Chris wanted to forge his own path in life, his parents remained content with a conventional, middle-class existence.

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To some extent, Chris's fateful journey into the Alaskan wilderness represents a decisive rejection of his parents and their values. Chris's parents lead a fairly comfortable, middle-class lifestyle in keeping with their wealth and social status. Unlike Chris, they don't see anything wrong with this and appear more than contented...

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To some extent, Chris's fateful journey into the Alaskan wilderness represents a decisive rejection of his parents and their values. Chris's parents lead a fairly comfortable, middle-class lifestyle in keeping with their wealth and social status. Unlike Chris, they don't see anything wrong with this and appear more than contented with their lot.

Inevitably, this drives a huge wedge between Chris and his parents. Over time, Chris has come to develop a profound hostility to the conventional, bourgeois values of his parents, which he sees as propping up an unfair society disfigured by disparities of wealth and opportunity. In rejecting his parents and the life that they lead, Chris is also turning his back on that society.

Chris's relations with his father are further strained by the shocking revelation that his father has been leading a double-life, maintaining a second home with his first wife. This revelation fuels Chris's growing conviction that society, as represented by his parents, is thoroughly rotten and immoral. Inspired by the work of Thoreau and Emerson, he believes that when faced with such a society, it is necessary to seek solitude away from its corrupting influence. So, under the circumstances, he feels that he has no choice but to escape from society if he is to cultivate his inner spirituality.

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Chris McCandless had a difficult, strained relationship with his parents and became estranged from them for the last two years of his life. Chris's father was a successful, intelligent man, who attained wealth and raised his family in a comfortable, affluent suburban household. As Chris grew older and entered high school, he began questioning society's ills and resented the fact that he was raised in a wealthy home with opportunities. Chris became a moral absolutist, who lost himself in the works of Thoreau, Emerson, and London. Chris's rather radical outlook on life differed from his parents, who subscribed to the typical American ideals of working hard and attaining financial success.

During the summer before his junior year, Chris discovered that his father lived a double life and continued to spend time with his first wife after he was born. Upon learning that his father was dividing his time between two households during his childhood, Chris became furious with his father and was unable to forgive him. Chris even confided in his sister that his "entire childhood seem(ed) like a fiction." Instead of confronting his parents about the situation, Chris became more and more distant and barely communicated with them during the last two years of his life. The last time Walt and Billie saw their son was at his graduation, where they mentioned that he seemed happy but were unaware of his deep feelings of resentment.

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Chris had a strained relationship with his parents and was estranged (alienated and separated) from them in the last few years of his life.

He rebelled and wanted a complete separation from them, so he left home without telling anyone, even his beloved sister, where he was going. He wanted to be free of their values. Though they eventually hired a private detective to try to find him, he eluded their grasp.

Chris principally rejected his parents' materialism. They had worked hard to build a successful business, and he believed they placed too much emphasis on money and material things. He believed his father, in particular, used money to control him. Chris went along with his parent's desires and graduated from Emory University, but as soon as he could, he broke away. He gave a $20,000 inheritance to Oxfam that his parents thought he would use to pay for law school. He burned his cash and abandoned his car. He worked on a farm and at McDonald's to earn what little income he needed. 

Chris also rebelled against his parents by attempting to live honestly. He was upset that they had lied to him about being married when he was born and that they had kept information from him about another family that Chris's father had had with another wife.

Chris might have reconciled with his parents as he got older, but he died too soon. 

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Chris had a complicated relationship with his parents, particularly with his father, Walt. In Chapter 11 of Into The Wild, Krakauer describes Chris's childhood. Walt was a perfectionist, who pushed Chris hard to be the best, but as Chris grew into adolescence he began to resent his father's overbearing nature more and more. In many ways, Chris resembled his father; he too could be stubborn and a perfectionist. Chris was a straight-A student, an excellent musician, a natural athlete and top long distance runner. But, on page 111, Walt laments that Chris, despite his great natural abilities, was uncoachable: if you "tried to polish him, bring out that final 10%, a wall would go up." On the other hand, Chris paid a moving tribute to his father when he graduated from college, giving him a telescope and thanking his parents for their many sacrifices. Yet when he discovered that his father had maintained his relationship with his first wife, having a child with her after starting a family with Chris's mother, and that both parents had concealed this, Chris came to reject his parents. In fact, Krakauer says that, because of his father's deception, his "'entire childhood seemed like a deception.'"

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