Into the Wild: Chris McCandless is a Tragic Hero Essay

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Jon Krakauer, fascinated by a young man in April 1992 who hitchhiked to Alaska and lived alone in the wild for four months before his decomposed body was discovered, writes the story of Christopher McCandless, in his national bestseller: Into the Wild. McCandless was always a unique and intelligent boy who saw the world differently. Into the Wild explores all aspects of McCandless’s life in order to better understand the reason why a smart, social boy, from an upper class family would put himself in extraordinary peril by living off the land in the Alaskan Bush. McCandless represents the true tragic hero that Aristotle defined. Krakauer depicts McCandless as a tragic hero by detailing his unique and perhaps flawed views on society,…show more content…
After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta, McCandless’s parents offered to buy him a new car as their graduation present. Contrasting what most teenagers would feel about this news, McCandless was shocked and offended, he “couldn’t believe they’d try and buy me a car” (21). McCandless did not believe in the idea of tangible gifts, he explained to his sister that “he would have to be real careful not to accept any gifts from them in the future because they will think they have bought [his] respect” (21). McCandless near insecurity of gifts, and his longing for a peaceful and moral world caused him to want to search for another life. After burning his wallet, giving all his remaining money to charity, and leaving his beloved car behind, McCandless abandoned his family and hitchhiked his way west as far as possible. These actions and ideas that McCandless developed while studying in college were only a blueprint for his tragic flaw, which would further establish itself while traveling alone in the West. While on the road and meeting people all over the country it becomes apparent that McCandless tragic flaw is in part to do with his love for simplistic beauty but also because of his fear of forming long-term relationships. Since leaving his old life, McCandless took the role of a vagabond, which he greatly enjoyed. One of the people he met on his adventure was an older man named Ron Franz. As
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