McCandless was the first of two children of Walt McCandless and Wilhelmina "Billie" Johnson. Chris was born in El Segundo, California, and had a sister named Carine. It was in 1976 when the family settled in Virginia after Billie was employed as a specialist in the National Aeronautics (Krakauer 16). Chris’s mum worked as a secretary in an aircraft in Hughes and later helped her husband with a successful consultancy firm.
Despite their success they always kept fighting and they often thought of divorcing. By contemplating divorce they were not setting a good example to their children and didn’t think of what would become of their children without the care of both parents. Here they failed to fulfill the role of good role models. Billie also had a secret life in California by having six children and abandoning them as their father. He was not putting into his mind that what he did was what his children would do in the future, thus he was setting a bad example to them by acting irresponsibly.
It is clearly seen that Mr. McCandless was even irresponsible by the fact that he had not divorced his first wife and abandoned her with 6 children. He was also dishonest with his second wife by not telling her this secret. This also shows that he was unfaithful to his first wife and committed adultery since he born Chris and Carine before divorcing (Krakauer 27). Chris came to discover his father’s affair during the southern California trip in 1986. I think this discovery made him resent his dad and provoked a lack of a role model to look up to.
During his adolescence he was very attached to idealism and physical endurance. Chris parents failed to play the role of counselors during this time; however, the boy needed someone to talk to. As parents we should counsel our children during adolescence since it’s the time they need us most. I think Chris lacked someone to talk to, because of his perception towards his dad. His parents concentrated more on their successes than taming their children.
Chris graduated from the University of Emory with a degree of history and anthropology.
His success was driven by contempt of what he viewed as materialism of the society (Krakauer 40). I think he derived this idea from his parents who just focused on financial success and viewed material stuff as everything, instead of acting out the role of parents. During his junior class he refused to be a member of Phi Beta Kappa Society since titles and honors were not important for him.
Chris was strongly influenced by Jack London, Leo Tolstoy. However, I don’t believe a writer to have some significant influence over somebody’s actions. I think that our behavior mostly depends on our background and parents’ influence in particular.
Chris lacked someone to guide him in making choices and decisions when growing up, someone to aspire, someone to guide him on how to live in the society and communicate with other people. He started a new life by giving $25,000 to Oxfam International, dumping his belongings and burning all the money he had in his wallet (Krakauer 69). In 1992 Christopher Johnson McCandless got a ride to Alaska and walked solo in the wilderness on Mount McKinley.
Please return all mail I receive to the sender. It might be a very long time before I return South. 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 (Krakauer 69).
When being in the Mojave Desert he dumped his vehicle, stripped off the license plates and burnt all the money he had (Krakauer 163). He named himself Alexander Supertramp. People considered him as intelligent and great books lover. Chris travelled to Arizona California where he labored at a grain elevator. He opted to have neither money nor human contact (Krakauer 163).
Two years he walks the earth, no phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road (Krakauer 163).
He lacked someone to talk to and no loving parents. We are not told anywhere in the book that they tried to look for him since the time he had disappeared. It’s not that they were naïve but because they were ignorant and didn’t care what could have happened to their son.
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He survived by being fed by passer-by’s he met on the way and by eating wild fruits and potato roots. He refused offers by Jim Gallien and ignored his warnings about living in the wilderness without adequate supplies (Krakauer 11-40). Chris survived on rice and lean meat which he got from hunting wild animals such as porcupines and birds. He had a strange life since he didn’t associate himself with people. When he got injured during his camping in the bus, he posted a note to ask someone to help him since he was too weak.
On September 6th, 1992 the body of Chris was found in a dumped bus in Alaska. According to Krakauer, Chris died due to poison from mold from a local flora which he had collected. Krakauer improved his hypothesis and suggested that the mold from Rhizoctonia leguminicola might have caused the death of Chris (Krakauer 186).
Roman, Andrew, and I stay up well past midnight, trying to make sense of McCandless’s life and death, yet his essence remains slippery, vague, and elusive (Krakauer 186).
Even when he was dead his parents never came to claim his body, like he had had no parents in his life at all. I think his father neglected him just as he neglected his other six children.
His behavior showed lack of common sense since he lived like an animal and had the opportunity to make the right choices but neglected it. He chose not to carry a compass with him during his hiking and other essential equipments. This also shows lack of commonsense and arrogance. He left without telling anyone and went into the wilderness without proper preparation. I do not think his parents were responsible for his death since he was the one who had chosen to go to the wilderness and live like an animal, to neglect Jim’s support and warnings. So it’s like he wished to die and his parents should not to be blamed for it.
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We see that parents of Chris didn’t care about him since they had never bothered to know his whereabouts nor had they cared even when he died. It’s not because they were neither naïve nor blind to what was happening to their son but they were just arrogant. They could have tried to talk to their son to come back home and show him that they did love and care about him but they never did so. They were just concerned about being wealthy and successful and this made their son resent; that is clearly seen in his behaviors.
In conclusion, parents are the most important people in a child’s life since children look up to them and consider everything a parent does or say to be acceptable. Parents prepare children to become responsible and independent adults. Children tend to pick up the behaviors of their parents even smallest details, such as the tone of voice, the way we communicate with other people. For example Chris partly took the traits of his father by abandoning his family like his dad had abandoned his first wife and children. He also took his arrogance from his parents who had never cared about him so he also didn’t care about them.
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Our children are like our mirrors since they reflect some of our behaviors, in them we can see some of our traits. Parents should become a good role model to their children by being honest and communicating effectively with the children. They should analyze their behaviors deeply. Parents should be the first teachers of their children by teaching them good virtues such as how to be courteous, honest, kind to people, how to love, how to communicate with the society, how to deal with difficult situations, how to make right decisions and choices. They should be people their children would like to be in future. Parents should practice responsible parenthood by taking care of the needs of their children (love, education, food, cloth and shelter).