Chris McCandless is a hero in the book Into the WIld
Date of submission
Chris McCandless is a Hero in the Book, “Into the Wild”
In 1996, Jon Krakauer wrote the book, “Into the Wild.” It is a book based on a true story. As a matter of fact, this book was written as an expanded sequel to Krakauer’s article on the protagonist, Christopher (Chris) McCandless. Also, the book was theatrically released in 2007. It is necessary to note that the book managed to grab an International Bestseller. Also, there are many versions of the book that have been released in various languages. Clearly, it is used as a learning aid in many educational institutions such as colleges and high schools. This paper critically explores and analyzes Chris McCandless as a hero in the Book, “Into the Wild.”
As a matter of fact, it is necessary to note that McCandless was not only a hero but, also a tragic one. Fore mostly, tragic heroes are often individuals with high statuses in society. Regardless of the field, they occupy a higher position as compared to others. It is clear to note that McCandless graduates from Emory University with great grades. His grades are outstanding as compared to those of his fellow students. Additionally, his father is a prominent man in society. The protagonist also comes from a wealthy family thus relating to characteristics of most tragic heroes. Nonetheless, he is an extraordinary person. As described by the author, “Some readers admired the boy, Chris, immensely for his courage and noble ideals; other fulminated that he was a reckless idiot, a wacko, a narcissist who perished out of arrogance and stupidity, and was undeserving of the considerable media attention he received.”
Tragic heroes are also known to have good personalities. McCandless has an outstanding personality all through. After his graduation, he donates his college money to a charitable organization. Also, most people refer to McCandless as a good person. After moving away and resorting to travel to different places, he still keeps in touch with his friends. Most of the Greek tragic heroes such as Odyssey have gone on journeys just like McCandless. This trait is the most similar one between the protagonist and most tragic heroes. In fact, he utters these words before he leaves, “This is the last you shall hear from me, Wayne. If this adventure proves fatal and you don’t ever hear from me again. I want you to know you’re a great man. I now walk into the wild.”
Tragic heroes also possess tragic flaws. As a matter of fact, this trait is another common one among tragic heroes. The tragic flaw is one that often leads to a hero’s downfall and eventually, death. Often, this flaw is unknown to other people apart from the hero. Krakauer informs the readers that McCandless is proud and overconfident. McCandless is confident about indulging in risky acts thus his extreme pride. He utters these words while explaining his risks, “It is the experiences, the memories, and the great triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found.” In fact, the immense self-confidence may be observed when he abandons his family. He believes that he is strong enough to pursue all things alone. Also, he may have donated the money due to his compassionate nature as well as his self-confidence.
It is also clear to observe the subtle warnings in the book. Most tragic heroes are often given signs and warning regarding their downfall. In Krakauer’s book, it is seen that McCandless’ friends advice him to change his ways but, he is stubborn, and fails to listen. In fact, most people want to assist him but, he does not accept any help. Furthermore, the language used in the story also describes characteristics of tragedies. The author uses McCandless private letters and journals to improve the story. Through those materials, Krakauer elicits poetic language that is present in most tragedies.
Moreover, it is important to note that tragedy stories often exhibit elements of catharsis. These elements include the release of emotions to achieve renewal and reconstruction. Often, these emotions are pitiful and fearful. In this case, the readers experience catharsis due to McCandless’ experiences. The story does not describe instances in which the protagonist goes through a cathartic process. Conversely, the readers are fearful and pitiful for McCandless because of his actions in the story. It is salient to note that his friends are also cathartic. Through these words, “I’d thought he’d be fine in the end. He was smart. He’d figured out how to paddle a canoe down to Mexico, how to hope freight trains, how to score a bed at inner-city missions. He figured all of that out on his own, and I felt sure he’d figure out Alaska, too”, there is evident emotion from Jan and Bob.
In summation, it is clear that the paper has described Chris McCandless as a Tragic Hero. It has examined McCandless’ instances from the story and related them to characteristics of Tragic Heroes. Also, the paper has related McCandless’ heroic nature to the characteristics of tragic stories.