Death of an Innocent, by Chris McCandless

987 Words4 Pages
In Death of an Innocent, Chris McCandless goes on a memorable and tragic journey into Alaska, but for most of his expedition he was known, not as Chris McCandless, but as Alexander Supertramp. The reason that he changed his name for his journey was because he is running away from his past and wanted to become the person he believed he really was. Chris McCandless had a very comfortable life of an upper-middle class citizen, with a good education and many opportunities. On a summer trip to California, Chris learned a life shattering secret, that he had actually had several half siblings. Everything he believed about his nice happy family was a lie. After learning this secret, he began to pull away from his family, by not telling them where he was going and what he was doing. Then on his final journey, he disappeared, not telling anyone where he was going. When he was hitchhiking and picked up by James Gallien, he told Gallien that no one knew where he was, and that he hadn’t spoken to his family in years. “I’m absolutely positive, I won’t run into anything I can’t deal with on my own” quoted McCandless. From this, Chris was practically screaming that no one knew, and he liked it that way. He changed his name, so that no one could even connect him back to his family. His family actually had a private detective try to find him, but Chris made it extremely hard due to his wanderer habits. Chris also changed his name as a way to follow his destiny. It is similar to the story in The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. James Gatz was a seventeen year-old boy from a lower middle class family who tried to embrace his destiny. When he saw the yacht of an extremely rich man, he knew that he could become Jay Gatsby, and climb the soci... ... middle of paper ... his family behind. Even though there was so much conflict with his family, they were still his family. He wanted them to know what happened to him instead of living in worry over what could have happened to him. He used his new name to keep them from coming to get him, because he needed to take this journey for himself. As it came to an end, and he was aware of that end, Chris wanted them to know and to find him. He was also cut off from civilization for so long, he might have assumed that someone was looking for him, so by writing his birth name, they would know it was him and contact his family. Chris McCandless changed his name to escape his reality, and to follow a new path to lead him to be at peace with himself, and in the end, he was. He needed to take this journey to find out who he really was, whether his name was Chris McCandless or Alex Supertramp.
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