Context In Jon Krakauer's Into The Wild

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Chris McCandless experienced the adventure of a lifetime while he spent his months in Alaska. Unfortunately, he did not survive to live and tell about it, however, he did leave an interesting journal behind which was analyzed by Jon Krakauer in his book, “Into the Wild.” Krakauer carefully details each and every aspect of McCandless’s journal, which depicts all that McCandless was going through during his time spent in the Alaskan wilderness. Malcolm Gladwell, in his article “The Power of Context,” argues that context, more than anything else propels humans towards whatever actions they will take in a particular situation. That context can be present or past. He claims that to reverse the “birth” of new criminals, the context in which the new criminals grow up must…show more content…
In de Waal’s article, “The Ape and the Sushi master,” he claims that, through animal observation, humans are inherently altruistic and that humans don’t even realize the fact that they are. In other words, de Waal speaks of how, naturally, humans have the instinct to help another human in need. Gladwell’s framework of thought seems more reasonable than de Waal’s in explaining why McCandless’s behavior changed during his extended stay in the harsh environment of Alaska. Therefore, I will argue that de Waal’s framework of thought about influences on human behavior is inherently weaker than Gladwell’s framework of thought that proposes context is the strongest influence on a person’s behavior. Gladwell can therefore be seen in a much better perspective in terms of McCandless’s experiences. ‑­ First, let’s examine why Gladwell’s argument is more potent in McCandless’s context than de Waal’s. Jon Krakauer tells us of how McCandless’s bravery led him to become a completely different man by the end of his adventure. Krakauer claims, “[h]e also became much more successful at hunting game and for the next six weeks feasted regularly on squirrel,

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