Tragedy In Into The Wild

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January 19, 2009 Foreshadowed Tragedy Jon Krakauer’s book, Into the Wild, elaborates on how Christopher J. McCandless’ identity was shaped and how that identity was expressed. Krakauer provided a wealth of background and extensive details in order to inform the reader of McCandless’ development. I believe that three factors influenced the identity of McCandless – his family, his education, and his experience. Certainly, as I read the book I could see the emergence of his independent nature. He generally kept his beliefs to himself and was non-confrontational when others suggested alternatives. McCandless simply smiled and continued to do whatever he planned regardless. As his identity became more evident, I could see his stubbornness…show more content…
When he was eight, he hiked to the summit of Old Rag with his father. As he got older, this climbing with his father continued. He climbed 13,000 feet of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. At this point, his father then had the family descend. Young McCandless did not agree. In fact, Walt “told Chris no way. He was only twelve then, so all he could do was complain. If he’d been fourteen or fifteen, he would have simply gone on without me” (Krakauer 109). This quote offers clean evidence of McCandless’ willingness to continue climbing while ignoring the reality that his family was exhausted which was a potential danger. Here, McCandless’ attitude started to illustrate the rebelliousness that his father foreshadowed. His family was in total agreement that McCandless felt that “the odds did not [apply] to him. We were always trying to pull him back from the edge” (109). His family attempted to exercise some guidance in order to protect McCandless. Unfortunately, their concerns were ignored by him. In turn, he did not ever communicate with his family while he was on his personal journey. He ignored their feelings of apprehension. His simply did not care about their concerns. He wanted to live his life on his own terms. McCandless had a deep fondness for reading which influenced him indirectly. For instance, he devoured Jack London, Leo Tolstoy and Boris Pasternak. These authors personified the joy of solitude…show more content…
This characteristic became part of his identity. For instance, he began to explore the northeastern United States by riding the rails as a means of transport. In a card to his friends Ronald Franz and Jan Burres, McCandless commented that “I’m a hobo now! That’s right, I’m riding the rails now. What fun, I wish I had jumped trains earlier” (53). McCandless ignores the reality that this was illegal and that he got into trouble with the ‘bulls’. He ignored threats and continued to risk danger in order to follow his goal. This is similar to his experiences as a runner in high school. His ability permitted him to organize a runners club called the Road Warriers. In this instance McCandless led the club “on long, killer runs through places like farmers’ fields and construction sites, places we weren’t supposed to be and intentionally try to get us lost” (112). This deliberate attempt was done to test his strength to overcome difficulties. Other club members became infected with his leadership style and blindly followed him without questioning his motives. McCandless felt that his confidence would serve him well in living off the land in Alaska. The death of McCandless was a tragic event. The tragedy was caused directly by the identity of the young man. He did not wish to be confronted with the practicalities of life. He felt that he was above such consideration. His failure to survive in the Alaskan

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