Friday, April 2, 2010

McCandless reckless?

At the beginning of Into the Wild I viewed Chris as somebody trying to follow his dreams no matter what it took. I still hold this opinion after finishing the book. Krakauer brings up the point that McCandless did not have a map on him, which Alaskans would consider stupid. He then brings up the point that McCandless probably wanted to be able to brave nature on his own with no help. I believe the second statement. Throughout the story Chris is described as somebody wanting to get away from the conformity of society. Bringing a map with him would have gone along with this conformity. Not bringing a map allowed Chris to explore on his own. I don't see this as ignorant because he did other things to prepare for his journey, such as study up on food to eat and bring books that would guide him in wilderness survival.
Another point brought up at the end of the book proving Chris was not ignorant was the theories on how he died. Many people thought that Chris died out of a lack of knowledge of plants and simply ate a poisonous plant. Through Krakauer's investigated he came up with a theory of Chris making the mistake of eating seeds that had toxic mold, but was from a perfectly edible plant. This seems more likely based on the journal writings by Chris and the plant book that he brought with him disucussing edible plants. This further shows that Chris was not ignorant, just unlucky. He did plan out his survival and have the techniques to survive, he just happened to eat something poisonous that was known to be edible.
This strategy of Krakauer's of bringing up Chris's mistakes and then explaining how they were not ignorance worked for me. Krakauer convinced me to take his side in deeming Chris a brave man. By acknowledging the naysayer and then refuting them, Krakauer is proving that Chris did not do anything wrong. Krakauer also provides ample evidence of Chris' intelligence and stories from people who knew Chris which establishes credibility. Overall, Krakauer's style convinced me. Chris was a brave man following his dreams, not an ignorant tree hugger.

1 comment:

  1. We definitely get a concept oh how intellegent Chris is throughout the story. And this tells us that he could balance a check book or thoroughly inform us on the plite Haitians face today, but his intellegence has nothing to about whether or not he wsa reckless. He was smart, so we know he probably didn't eat the wrong seeds or berries, but he also took a canoe over the flood gates of a dam. If that isn't reckless then I don't know what is.

    So I guess what you are saying, and you aren't wrong, is that Krakauer is engaging the naysayer. I think that will score me some extra points. But he is. I think that has been what Krakauer has been doing more or less the enitre book to pound it into your head that Chris wasn't the classic case of crazy vagabond kid. He wasn't even crazy. Before I thought he was, but Krakauer changed my mind.

    That was kind of all my thinking, but really nice post.