Essay on Death of an Innocent, by Chris McCandless

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In Death of an Innocent, Chris McCandless goes on a memorable and tragic journey into Alaska, but for most of his expedition he was known, not as Chris McCandless, but as Alexander Supertramp. The reason that he changed his name for his journey was because he is running away from his past and wanted to become the person he believed he really was. Chris McCandless had a very comfortable life of an upper-middle class citizen, with a good education and many opportunities. On a summer trip to California, Chris learned a life shattering secret, that he had actually had several half siblings. Everything he believed about his nice happy family was a lie. After learning this secret, he began to pull away from his family, by not telling them…show more content…
Jay Gatsby was running away from his insignificant life to have a new start as someone spectacular. Chris McCandless tried to accomplish almost the same goal, but in reverse. Chris wanted to leave his privileged life and live a life in which he had nothing, while Gatsby wanted to the life of luxury and escape from the perils of the working class. Chris packed his bags and left to see the world and to depend on himself for survival. He talked to many people, helping them turn their life around to realize their own destiny. He became a new person, Alexander Supertramp, an unstoppable wilderness enthusiast. Until, eventually he was stopped. The name that Chris chose to go by is very important and says a lot about him. Chris was captivated by author Leo Tolstoy, especially because Tolstoy gave up a life of luxury and privilege to be among poverty. Chris probably took the inspiration for the name Alexander from Leo Tolstoy’s writing. Many of Tolstoy’s characters had names similar to Alexander, or it could have been inspired from Alexander I of Russia, as he appeared in War and Peace. As for Supertramp, it is a combination of two of Chris’ characteristics. Chris believed that he was practically invincible. His father quoted, “He [Chris] was good at almost everything he ever tried, which made him supremely overconfident. If you attempted to talk him out of

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