But do we really know the whole story? Do we really know Chris McCandless? (Seidgul) At first glance, you may think of Chris McCandless’s story as a call for death; you may even think of him as a fool, but that’s only on the surface. The public’s response to his story is based on what they’ve heard rather than the facts. The rare few, who look into Chris’s life, discover that he is an example of heroic idealism. This is because he had a dream and he went out and fulfilled it. How many of us have something in the back of our minds, but never go and do it?
It’s not easy to chase the dreams in our hearts and in many cases, this may be difficult or even impossible; but not for McCandless. The dictionary’s definition of a hero is a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. Chris McCandless fits this definition perfectly. He did not lack in ability to succeed and he had a great amount of courage with anything he tried in life. Chris was extraordinarily talented; he excelled in most areas, letting nothing stand in his way. During Chris’s year and a half adventure around the Western United States he showed all the qualities of a hero.
He dropped everything he owned and took away the barriers that society had subconsciously imposed on him, to discover who he really was. A bold and stubborn risk it was, but more importantly Chris took that risk, something many people would never dream of attempting because they can’t predict the outcome. That’s why Chris is a hero, because he did something so many can’t. He set out on an adventure to enjoy what little time he had on this beautiful planet. (Peton) “When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it” (Krakauer) I don’t want to know what time it is. I don’t want to know what day it is or where I am. None of that matters. ” (Krakauer 7) What Chris was saying is that our life in this world is limited. We are living in this world with a deadline; the more we live, the closer we become to our ending point. We normally try to pretend that this fact isn’t true but at some point in our life we get to believe what we were trying to avoid for so long. We are also limited by a place, just like Chris was. He was feeling trapped in an overwhelming society he didn’t even want to be a part of.
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Chris was trying to go a place which allowed him to ignore the limitation of place and time, a place where he could live in his own imagination and the wild was that place for him. In the documentary Call of the Wild, Alaskan men talk in a bar about Chris and how stupid he was for thinking he could survive. They’re thinking what everyone else in the world was at the time but what they don’t know is that McCandless was a very smart guy. He attended college at Emory and got a degree but all of that wasn’t enough for him. Chris stresses on going into the wild for a purpose, to simplify.
Boy Scout rule number one is to be prepared and Chris was. He had everything he needed, food, money and identification indicating that he did intend to come home someday despite what everyone else thinks. As a boy he grew up in a wealthy family and it’s clear he didn’t agree with the lifestyle. He spent his weekends helping the less fortunate out and rejecting his parents gifts because he didn’t need all the material things. For example, his parents offered to buy him a new car but he declined because he had a car that was running perfectly fine. It is evident that McCandless was also trying to get away from his family.
After he learned about his father’s past mistakes he no longer respected the man that raised him. In McCandless’s journal he writes, “He was right in saying that the only certain happiness in life is to live for others. I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country. ” (Krakauer 169) Living in the wild is what made Chris happiest and we can’t dictate what makes others most happy. Jon Krakauer describes Chris in a picture he found, “His face is horribly emaciated almost skeletal.
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