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Christopher Mccandless Life in Films and Real-life Stories

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Bill Gifford gives account of Chris McCandless’s decision to journey “Into the Wild”, and includes various locations and people he met along the way. After summing up his adventure, Gifford gives justification as to why McCandless was “frightfully unprepared mentally and physically”. He includes McCandless’s ability to become involved in trouble, and ignore the advice of those closest to him. Gifford explains that while Krakauer clearly emphasizes with McCandless’s odyssey and believes that he was in his right mind, he believes that he was actually an unprepared, arrogant boy who could’ve easily avoided his dreadful fate.

In the Washington Post Book World Volume 26 Issue 3, Bill Gifford uses a sardonic tone when describing Chris McCandless’s situation. Throughout the text, Gifford applies satirical diction to illustrate McCandless’s faults to the reader, in order to justify his view of Chris’s insanity. He makes McCandless out to be an insolent kid, who shouldn’t be someone to look up to. Gifford incorporates Krakauer’s view of McCandless as a counter argument, only to rebuttal using critical diction to disprove his belief in Chris’s courageous spirit.

On All Things Considered, on NPR, after host Melissa Block recounts McCandless’s journey and fate, John Krakauer explains his feelings of developing a movie about Chris’s odyssey, and how it affected him and McCandless’s relatives. After describing the feelings of Chris’s family as they watched the film, and his sister as she visited the bus in Alaska, Krakauer illustrates the various differences between the book and the movie, and then expresses how much he “identifies” with McCandless. Because Krakauer has a similar experience at around the same age as McCandless, he believes that Chris, a young man with a huge adventurous spirit, was in fact far from insane or crazy

Jon Krakauer, speaking with Melissa Block on the podcast, All Things Considered, on NPR, uses pathos numerous times when describing the emotions of McCandless’s relatives when they watched the newly created film by Sean Penn, and his sister, Corrine, when she visited the “international harvester bus” in Alaska. This repetition of pathos creates a sympathetic and somber tone by allowing the reader to endure the feelings of the McCandless family after such a tragic loss. By mentioning his similar experience at Chris’s age, climbing Devil’s Thumb in Alaska, and how this experience helped him identify with Chris, provides ethos to support his belief that McCandless was in fact not insane, but certainly a bit overconfident.

Rand Richards Cooper explains the tragedy of Chris McCandless portrayed by Jon Krakauer, and how his fascinating story became produced into a movie directed by Sean Penn. Cooper describes Krakauer’s “fascination with the harshness of nature”, causing him to view McCandless as a courageous being who traveled to fulfill his aspiration of enjoying “solitude in nature”. Cooper then illustrates the film follows relatively the same path with a slightly alternative view of McCandless. Cooper ends by describing how the film makes McCandless out to be a young boy who could have prevented his needless death, “if only he had listened”.

In this biography, Chris McCandless is viewed as an overconfident young man who ignored the advice of those close to him, and neglected the Boy Scout Motto: “Be Prepared”. The biography gives account of McCandless’s childhood, and how the actions of those around him, shaped him into a brave and adventurous, but arrogant, kid who enjoyed the great outdoors. The biography then switches to illustrate how McCandless’s overconfidence and ignorance led to his needless fate. The biography expresses that even though Chris was nowhere close to prepared for his Alaskan odyssey, his overconfidence, created by previous experiences where “strangers bailed him out of desperate situations” ultimately caused his downfall.

When recounting McCandless’s feelings toward his family and the end of his life, the biography uses critical diction to express an attitude of annoyance toward Chris for being disrespectful towards his parents, and by being overconfident in his abilities. Despite this attitude, when describing his overall life, the biography uses a complementary tone to illustrate that, despite Chris’s overconfidence and arrogance, he was a courageous kid who defied the conformity of society to pursue his dream of solitude in nature. As this tone is developed, we can understand that the biography doesn’t view McCandless as an insane kid who threw his life away, but rather someone who had struggles and trials in his life, creating him into a person who enjoyed the company of nature around him.

Charles Mcgrath recites the odyssey of Chris McCandless, and explains how his tragic death is still a mystery. Mcgrath first describes the film, “Into the Wild”, directed by Sean Penn, and the effort and time it took to correctly depict Chris’s journey, physically and emotionally. Mcgrath then compares the alternate views of McCandless, from the viewpoint of the majority of Alaskans, and from Krakauer and a “band of pilgrims”. Mcgrath explains the Alaskans view that Chris was “mentally unbalanced”, which spurred his unintelligent decision to journey alone into the wild. Krakauer, on the other hand, viewed Chris as a hero, “a solitary quester” who chose to face the challenges of nature in order to fill his adventurous spirit.

When describing the view of McCandless from the perspective of most Alaskans, Mcgrath uses a vexed tone, to illustrate their overall belief that McCandless was mentally unbalanced, and shouldn’t be idolized for his needless death. When explaining Krakauer’s view of McCandless, Mcgrath incorporates idolizing diction to express the author’s belief of identifying with Chris, because of a similar experience. Because of this experience, Krakauer’s view of McCandless is one of understanding. When writing “Into the Wild”, Krakauer gives McCandless the benefit of the doubt, by expressing that his sense of pride and immunity were undoubtedly high, Krakauer defends his argument that Chris was far from insane, but just made a few mistakes that caused his death.  

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Christopher Mccandless Life in Films and Real-Life Stories. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from
“Christopher Mccandless Life in Films and Real-Life Stories.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022,
Christopher Mccandless Life in Films and Real-Life Stories. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 May 2022].
Christopher Mccandless Life in Films and Real-Life Stories [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 29 [cited 2022 May 17]. Available from:
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