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    Describing the Heroism of Chris McCandles in John Krakauer’s “Into the Wild”

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    Was Chris McCandless a courageous and idealistic hero or was he a reckless narcissist? Throughout Into the Wild, the author, Jon Krakauer. Highlights the travels and history of Christopher Johnson McCandless. Emphasizing how he followed certain transcendentalist ideals. And how he emotionally reached various people. But the book lacks credibility as the author presents McCandless in a biased light.

    The author tends to accentuate the most impressive. And idealistic parts of the life of McCandless, not necessarily focusing on all parts that pertain to telling his real life. Because of this situation, we can only trust the text that we analyze and interpret as true, meaning only the text that are referenced in this essay. Going back to the topic at hand, many readers would admire the courage and ideals of McCandless.

    However, they neglect the fact that McCandless crossed the fine line between courage and stupidity when he journeyed to his demise in Alaska and countless other incidents when he made decisions that would seem absurd and ridiculous to members of society. McCandless died an arrogant narcissist who was unworthy of any media attention that praised his beliefs and ideals.

    Starting with McCandless’ decisions that led to his death, there is a clear amount of recklessness that precedes trouble. He showed great arrogance when he refused the persistent offers of advice and help from Jim Gallien, who was an experienced hunter and woodsman (6). In fact, McCandless “had an answer for everything I [Jim Gallien] threw at him,” showing great confidence in his chances of survival in the desolate and freezing landscape of Stampede Trail (6).

    Ignoring an accomplished outdoorsman, McCandless thought that he could rely on his own skills in surviving in a foreign environment that many professionals have struggled to survive in. His last moments with another human exemplified the hubris that ultimately resulted in McCandless’ doom. Had he shown more sense and reason, he would have heeded the advices of Gallien and gotten better gear and more food to be prepared for his upcoming adventure to live in isolation and peace.

    Other readers may argue McCandless was simply adhering to his ideals and following the beliefs of Jack London, however such lack of preparedness would hinder any enlightenment that he pursued as seen by his death. The lack of preparedness resulting from his arrogance and confidence in himself led to McCandless’ death, ending his quest for enlightenment.

    Believing that he was doing Thoreau pride, McCandless burned all of his paper money after abandoning his Datsun to the desert (29). This incident is seen by many readers as one of the many actions of how McCandless declares his independence, his refusal to conformity, from society.

    However such action can be also interpreted as his declaration of how he can master any environment that he faces, displaying his conviction that he can survive without any money, any support, that any member of society would need to survive in the world. These types of events cause the readers to be impressed or shocked at McCandless’ decisions, seemingly giving McCandless more credibility that he is following enlightened ideals. But the readers are oblivious to the fact that these events are signify how McCandless is becoming more radical in his decisions, walking down the path of choosing eccentricity over reasonability.

    McCandless is not showing his courage when he burns his money or refuses comply with the rules of society but exhibiting his increasing eccentric behavior that can be more interpreted with arrogance than enlightenment. What McCandless believed were choices from transcendentalist ideals were actually reckless choices that lead him down a path of seclusion and arrogance.

    McCandless can only be viewed as following revered ideals and being courageous if the readers only rely on the views of Krakauer. However, when analyzed closely, McCandless followed eccentric and arrogant ways that ultimately led to his demise. Was Chris McCandless a courageous and idealistic hero or was he a reckless narcissist? Who does the author want him to be or who is he actually?

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Describing the Heroism of Chris McCandles in John Krakauer’s “Into the Wild”. (2022, Dec 10). Retrieved from

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