Chris McCandless is a Tragic Hero Essay

Chris McCandless is a Tragic Hero Essay

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In what could have been Chris McCandless’s last contact with humanity he tells his new comrade, Wayne Westerberg, “If this adventure proves fatal and you don’t hear from me again I want you to know you are a great man. I now walk into the wild” (Krakauer 3). For 112 days Chris lived off the harsh Alaskan land. For anyone who is brave enough to travel on the stampede trail and cross the treacherous Teklanika River you will come across the Fairbanks City Transit System Bus 142. Once a backcountry shelter for hunters, trappers, ranger patrols, and for a short time Chris McCandless, Bus 142 now serves as a memorial for Chris McCandless. Travelers will make the trip to witness the basic resources Chris had at hand and the courage it took to make it as far as he did into his journey. Chris was not unaware of the dangers of the Alaskan wilderness. He was fully informed of the challenges he would face and was confident, maybe even hubristic, that he could overcome them. Non Supporters would argue this makes Chris a fool, reckless, brash, or even border lined unintelligent while in fact it is quite the opposite. Chris was a hero because he knew his differences and embraced them, his ambition and strive for perfection took his life, and he followed his dreams no matter the cost.

Chris McCandless had a reputation for being overly ambitious since grade school. His teachers noticed at young age he was abnormally strong-willed which he coupled with intense idealism and strong physical endurance. In high school, Chris served as the captain of his cross country team asking them to treat each race as a spiritual experience. After graduating high school Chris continued on to college where he would graduate with a bachelor’s degree, doub...


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... every aspect of his life whether it be his education, physical endurance, or making it through the Alaskan wilderness with nothing more than a rifle, a backpack, and a road map. Chris was aware of his differences and that he did not fit into society. He fully embraced that and and chose to lead his own path. Chris led a happy life according to one of his last journal entries he wrote, “I have had a happy life and thank the lord. Goodbye and may God bless all!” (Krakauer 199). Chris was willing to risk everything to gain that happiness. His ambition to enter the wilderness, in the end, took his life but that did not stop him. He would have rather died a happy man than lived a miserable one. Chris ventured out into the wilderness and found himself; a tragic story for a tragic hero.


Works Cited

Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor Books, 1997. Print.

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Chris McCandless is a Tragic Hero Essay

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