Into the Wild: Character Analysis of McCandless

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Christopher Johnson McCandless graduated from Emory University in 1990. The son of well-to-do parents, it appeared that Chris was prepared to embark on the next chapter of his life. He had been editor of the student newspaper, earned honors with a double major in history and anthropology, and seemed destined for law school. Determined to rewrite his story, Chris eschewed conventional expectations. He divested himself of money and possessions and immersed himself in a new identity: Alexander Supertramp, Alaskan Adventurer. Four months after beginning his trek into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley, Chris's decomposed body was found. When the details of his story emerged, many people thought Chris was mentally disturbed, calling him a "kook," a "nut," and "a half-cocked greenhorn," among other things (Krakauer, 1996, pp. 71-72). Had Chris's story had a happy ending, he would probably be described differently. He brought the tragic ending on himself, and people called him crazy. "Crazy" is a non-clinical word often used to describe someone with an underlying pathology. In this sense, there was nothing wrong with Chris McCandless. What he did suffer from was the enthusiasm and over-confidence of youth. Combined with poor planning and insufficient skills and experience in the outdoors, his "affliction" became fatal. McCandless made bad decisions, but he was not crazy. Chris McCandless enjoyed a privileged upbringing, but one in which he was held to high expectations. Chris's

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