In this day and age it is very rare to hear of somebody giving all of their hard earned belongings away and setting out on extreme adventure with nothing but a back pack. As we all know everybody is different. We all have different obsessions, things we like, places we like to be, and people we like to hang out with. Chris McCandless was a young man that grew up around the mountains. He loved going on hikes with his father and experiencing new territory. One of the things that McCandless had on his bucket list was to travel to Alaska and be in absolute wilderness. He wanted to spend the summer up there without seeing any sort of civilization. Chris was a very interesting character he did not like anybody telling him how to do anything. He is one of those learn by success and failure type of people. Unfortunately Chris Mccandless’s stubborn attitude got him killed when it came to the extreme habitat of Alaska. Some might question the way he planned out his trip and the choices he made. Just like Callarman I believe that McCandless was “Bright and ignorant at the same time”. However when Callarman says that McCandless is just plain crazy, I could not disagree more.
The statement that McCandless was “Bright” is very true. McCandless was a very smart kid. He had outstanding grades in college and excelled his father’s business to limits it may have never gotten to without his help. He also was very eager to learn. He memorized many books about the wilderness, trusting his memory on his life out in the wild. McCandless furthermore graduated a very nice private school at the top of his class. McCandless was also very ignorant in his decisions. He would always decline any type of money, food, or clothing from people when they offered it to him. It was a part of self-worth and confidence in himself that he could survive with no money and help from the outside world. After his college graduation he never talked to, visited, or forgave his parents. He dod this in spite of his horrible up-bringing and dysfunctional marriage his parents had. He was also very ignorant walking into the harshest conditions in America with only a sack full of rice and books. Callarman is not far off from the truth about Mccandless’s ignorance and brilliance.
While I agree with Callarmans first statement, I highly disagree with his next statement, which is that McCandless “had no common sense”. There is a small portion of people out there, if given only a backpack full of books and a sack of rice, would even think about going into the Alaskan forests. Hundreds of millions of people would not survive as long as McCandless did on his venture through the United States. McCandless excelled in the common sense that requires you to learn about basic survival. He wanted to learn about every survival book from knowing which bugs to eat to gutting a moose. He wanted to read about every single thing he would encounter before he encountered it in the dense forest of Alaska. However because of his age he did lack the knowledge to know that no one human being is invincible. Chris McCandless was also not “Crazy”. Crazy has a wide variation in its meaning. When it comes to McCandless he is the version of crazy that is eager to find new places and stimulate what he loves to do in a quick and risky manor.
Callarman believes that he is just mentally insane. As a child Chris did not have the best upbringing. For example his parents’ marriage was awful and his dads’ double life was a problem. This definitely was a factor when it came to the dangerous choices that he made. Chris was not able to think about the way his choices would affect other people because as a child he was not taught the proper way of handling them. His dad would always try to cover up his bad choices or completely deny them if they were true. Its Chris Mccandless’s fathers fault for showing him that it was ok to put off serious problems. In the end Chris McCandless may have made choices that others would be hesitant on, like Callarman. This quote perfectly explains Mccandless’s thoughts, “It is easy, when you are young to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your god given right to have-it” (Krakauer, 155).When we are young it is natural for us to believe that we are invincible and that no mountain is high enough. We all have different personalities, up-bringing, and opinions on rights and wrongs. This is why you cannot judge Chris McCandless and the judgments he made. Callarman cannot call McCandless crazy because he has never witnessed Life in the eyes of McCandless.