Do you think Chris went to Alaska to die, or did he try to make a permanent living?

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Krakauer makes a strong case that McCandless had no intention of dying on his trip to Alaska. It was not meant as a suicide journey, though many people, when they first heard of how he perished in the Alaskan wilderness, assumed it was.

At the same time, in response to...

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Krakauer makes a strong case that McCandless had no intention of dying on his trip to Alaska. It was not meant as a suicide journey, though many people, when they first heard of how he perished in the Alaskan wilderness, assumed it was.

At the same time, in response to the second part of the question, Chris had no intention of making a permanent home in the Alaskan wilderness: he was not trying to farm. It was an adventure, meant to be the grand, culminating finale of two years of wandering and self-discovery.

On July second, while in Alaska, McCandless wrote in his journal about the future in a way that shows he was anything but suicidal. His wilderness adventure was not meant to be the final stop in his life's journey but preparation for the next stage:

I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor . . .

As Krakauer outlines, it was a series of unfortunate mishaps and not a desire to die that lead to Chris's early demise.

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McCandless, like many before him, was passionate about life but unprepared to see his limitations to sustain it. He may not have intended to die, but he saw that it was a very real possibility-

This is the last you shall hear from me, Wayne...If this adventure proves fatal and you don't ever hear from me again I want you to know you're a great man. I now walk into the wild.

 

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I think it's fairly obvious that Chris' journey to Alaska was to be the fulfillment of his two years of wanderings. I'm sure this was not a suicidal journey, but one that turned bad for him, resulting in his unexpected death. I feel that Chris would probably have made Alaska his final stop before returning to the U.S. Whether he would have contacted his family, settled down and gotten a job, or started a new journey is uncertain, but he was so full of life that he most certainly did not go to Alaska--his great goal--just to die.

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I think that Chris was depressed and frustrated.  I am not sure he was exactly suicidal.  I think that he was committed to trying to survive on his own.  There is something romantic about the notion of living off the land, depending on no one.

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