Into the Wild – Character List
Christopher Johnson McCandless
Ø The subject of Krakauer’s tale, this specific version of Chris is taken from his childhood into his adolescents, before he assumed the name Alex.
Ø As a child, Chris was described as curious and very intelligent, both academically and sense wise. On page 106 Billie recalls a story of when Chris was a toddler: “But Christopher McCandless came into the world with unusual gifts and a will, not easily deflected from its trajectory. At the age of two, he got up in the middle of the night, found his way outside without waking his parents, and entered a house down the street to plunder a neighbour’s candy drawer.” Suggesting Chris’s individuality that could easily be observed since he was a toddler.
Ø Carine p107: “‘He was very to himself. He wasn’t antisocial – he always had friends, and everybody liked him – but he could go off and entertain himself for hours. He didn’t seem to need toys or friends. He could be alone without feeling lonely’” – This suggests Chris’s social withdrawl that is seen from a young age. It is later seen when he attends Emory College in his sophomore year as his friend Eric Hathaway at a party and described Chris as “’It was obvious he had changed. He seemed very introverted, almost cold.” (p120)
Ø P110, about Chris’s highschool days: “A gifted French horn player, as a teen he was a member of the American University Symphony, but quit, according to Walt, after objecting to rules, imposed by a highschool band leader.” This therefore implying Chris’s disgust against authority, which is later shown when he was talking to Jim Gallien on the way to Fairbanks (“How I feed myself is none of the government’s business. **** their stupid rules” p6) and how what he felt as an adolescent, he carried with him into adulthood, which also may lead to the assumption that Chris has a stubborn personality.
Ø P120: “Many aspects of Chris’s personality baffled his parents. He could be generous and caring to a fault. But he had a darker side as well, characterised by monomania, impatience, and unwavering self-absorption, qualities that seemed to intensify through his college years.” There were many conspiracy theories about why Chris ventured into the wild so ill prepared, one of which was that like John Waterman and Gene Rosellini (Chapter 8) Chris was mentally ill. This quote may be seen as a piece of evidence to support this, as the description seems to almost be a list of symptoms and the contrasts of the traits themselves makes out that Chris has a split personality and may explain his spontaneity and unpredictable nature.
Ø A friend of Chris’s during high school talking about Chris’s passionate personality p113: “McCandless took life’s inequities to heart. During his senior year at Woodson, he became obsessed with racial oppression in South Africa. He spoke seriously…