Student Question

What request did Ron make to Chris before parting ways in Into the Wild?

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The story of Ron Franz’s interaction with Chris McCandless is told in Chapter Six, “Anza-Borrego,” of Into the Wild. (Ronald A. Franz is not his real name. When he asked for anonymity, author Jon Krakauer agreed to protect his identity with a pseudonym.) Ron was 80 years old when he first gave a ride to Chris, who he knew as Alex. Chris had made a camp near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California. The two of them became quick friends who spent some time together. Ron had lost his wife and only son in an accident in 1957, and he seems to never have gotten over the loss. He began to advise Chris lightly, and he even taught him some leather crafting skills. Ron drove him to San Diego, where Chris lived on the street for a while. Then, when Chris got the idea to go to Grand Junction, Colorado, he called Ron for help. Ron drove him there and left him along I-70 on March 14, 1992. But before they parted, Ron was moved enough to ask for something special. He explained that had no other family members left.

“So I asked Alex if I could adopt him, if he could be my grandson.”

McCandless, uncomfortable with the request, dodged the question: “We’ll talk about it when I get back from Alaska, Ron.”

But of course, Chris/Alex never came back. Ron heard from him a few times, and he even moved to Chris’s old camp site for some months. waiting. He eventually heard about his young friend’s fate from some hitchhikers who had read the account in Outside. The man was devastated.

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