In 1990, a young man named Chris McCandless decided to isolate himself from his family and begin his journey to Alaska. He arrived at his final destination; The Stampede Trail, in April of 1992, now 24 years old. He lasted 112 days before dying of starvation. His story was retold through Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild. Some people view McCandless as a hero for showing people that you can be independent from society. However, I say that Chris McCandless is a fool for throwing his life — that was heading to good places — away.
Chris McCandless was a stubborn but smart young man. He got very good grades and could have gone to a nice graduate school, but didn’t pursue that opportunity. Chris was involved in sports in highschool and therefore had the opportunity to have a friend base, but chose not to interact with them outside of school. He also had a savings of $25,000 that he gave away. He could have used this money to start a normal life; college and investing in a house. Instead, Chris decides to give the money to charity and venture into the depths of the Alaskan Bush. This is where his stupidity begins. When he began his hike, his odds for surviving were already low as it is almost impossible to hike through Alaska alone even if you know the terrain and are an experienced hunter.
Chris was neither of these. This shows when he quickly runs out of food and supplies as he only brought a bag of rice to eat and the rifle he brought was not anything he could protect himself with, only shoot large animals with. How ill prepared he was is why some people view him as a fool. He disregards the value of education and family all for a trip he did not plan for or have knowledge about.Chris foolishly went out into the wild without any experience or plan to survive. He should not be labeled as hero or role model. However, attempting to hike in Alaska to prove to people that they can do what they want with their lives, be independent, and make their decisions without the influence of others.
Through his determination to fulfill his own dreams despite the criticism he was met with by his peers, he inspires people to take control of their own lives. Chris tells Ron, a retired army veteran who he meets in his travels, “Look Mr. Franz, you don’t need to worry about me.
I am not destitute, I am living like this by choice” (Into the Wild, Pg. 51). McCandless shows how being independent and not relying on others is something everyone can do.
In some people’s eyes, Chris is a hero and in others, Chris is a fool. Chris is saying that, “It is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, is your God-given right to have it” (Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild). He had good intentions, but pursued them foolishly.