In my opinion I believe the authors main point in this essay was to vindicate anything that Chris McCandless did in his life. When reading I could definitely sense Krakauers natural liking for McCandless. He was sympathetic to McCandless, based on Krakauers sense of a shared experience in their youth and up until McCandless eventual death and Krakauers perceived near death experience on the Devils Thumb. I believe the author’s main point and perspective was formed from his own experience and relationship with his father.
While the situations were basically reversed with Chris not approving of his father and Lewis Krakauer disappointed in Jon for not following is “blueprint” there are similar parallels. Both McCandless and Krakauer‘s fathers where high achievers in life and McCandless and Krakauer both shared a similar perspective in their youth. I can envision Krakauer writing this book as a form of therapy for him. Enabling him to tell his story along with McCandless’s working out the issues he had with his father along the way.
From the Authors point of view McCandless could do no wrong. Krakauer felt what I believe to be a deep connection with McCandless. He portrayed the similarities to his youth similar to McCandles. (Krakauer, 1996) . Much like McCandless, Krakauer became alienated with his father and his beliefs. He thought his father was part of the artificial consumer mentality and did not seek what was “real” in life. Like Chris’s father, Jon discovers that his father had lived a double life and was “merely human”. Chris’s father had a different family altogether.
I’m not clear on what exactly Jon’s father did but Jon felt him to be a hypocrite in the highest order. Krakauer did a wonderful job in documenting McCandless’s journey and retracing his steps. Supporting the books theme by interviewing his family and the people McCandless met along the way. He wrote the story in a way that made me feel empathic to Chris McCandless. One wonders what would have happened to McCandless if Wayne Westerberg had not been arrested and imprisoned those four months or if McCandless’s interaction with any of the people he met along his journey were the least bit different.
Different in any way that would have altered his path the lead to his eventual death. While reading I found it fascinating how the McCandless had such and influence on some of the older more experienced people he met. Some of those people might have been saying the nice things about McCandless out of respect for the dead, but not Ronald Franz. I was really surprised by the connection McCandless had with Ronald Franz and that McCandless had such an influence on him. McCandless must have had something unexplainable about him to have such an effect on people.
When I read further into the story to find out the Franz renounced god for letting such a special young man die and then goes as far as to follow his advice and live at McCandless’s old camp site, giving up his material possessions. McCandless left a deep impression on the older gentleman that I believe is rare, especially considering the relatively short amount of time they spent together. I found the main theme both convincing and appealing to me, but I found myself not caring about Krakauer’s story.
I couldn’t wait for chapter 15 to be over, or really any reference to his life or any other person’s life in the story except for the people directly connected with Chris McCandless. After analyzing this, my feelings are most likely this way because Krakauer lived to tell his story and McCandless did not. My reaction to the book overall was one of surprise to me. I to felt a connection with McCandless as anyone would who had a rebellious youth. However, not on the same scale as Krakauer’s connection.
His lack of respect for his father and wanting to get away from under the influence of his family and discover for himself what he was as a person made a connection with me, but that is where the connection ends. I believe Chris McCandless was an above average person and a high achiever with great intelligence and intellect. His curiosity and adventurous spirit started from a young age when at 2 years old he was to walking into the neighbor’s house in the middle of the night looking for some candy. In high school he was a runner. If one looked for a deeper meaning in this you could say he was already running from his father at that time.
He found a sense of spirituality in running that he found no other place. Being captain of his cross county squad showed he had leadership abilities. McCandless had a social conscience at a young age when most boys are thinking about girls. I found it very interesting that McCandless had a lot of jobs as a child and was a great salesman. He didn’t care about money but like the fact it was easy for him to make. I believe Chris McCandless was too hard on his father. When it came to his father in some ways he was a hypoctite, he believed people should be judged by their worth and not their life but that was not how he treated his father.
I really felt for his mother and believe that her dream was real, and that on some metaphysical level there was a connection between the two while Chris McCandless was dying on the bus. Jon Krakauer went to extraordinary lengths to prove to himself and other people that Chris McCandless did not commit suicide or was just some novice “greenhorn” wanting to experience the Alaskan wilderness. He proved the experienced Alaskan hunters and outdoorsmen wrong, finding out that McCandless did in fact kill a moose and not a caribou.