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Characterization: Into the Wild

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Kevin Stiles

on 17 October 2012

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Transcript of Characterization: Into the Wild

Wayne Westerberg McCandless's Family The author first introduces Ronald Franz in an epigraph in the beginning of Chapter 6. He sent a letter to Krakauer telling him that he had associated wih McCandless, "...I drove him home from Salton City Calif... in March 1992...to Grand Junction Co..." (in the epigraph of pg. 34) and that he wanted the magazine investigating the story of Chris McCandless dying in Alaska. Ronald A. Franz is a retired army veteran who once had a drinking problem. Franz served as a friend to Chris McCandless and became very close to him, almost like a father. As their relationship grew more, Franz finally asked McCandless if he could adopt him and be his grandson (his wife and only son died in a car accident years before). McCandless quickly denied by saying, "We’ll talk about it when I get back from Alaska, Ron." (pg. 39). Eight months later, Franz found out McCandless was dead, "Froze to death up on the tundra.", the Indian youth said (pg. 42) giving Franz the shocking news. Soon after, Ron accused God for letting his friend die and removed himself from his local church, then resumed to drink. Krakauer indirectly characterized Ronald as a troubled person needing someone like Christopher to keep him going. Ronald Franz Jon Krakauer Christoper McCandless By: Priya Behera
Soniya Athavale
Kevin Stiles
Mark Peterson
Durmish Durmishi CHRISTOPHER McCANDLESS WAS DESCRIBED BY MOST OF HIS CARETAKERS DURING HIS JOURNEY, HIS FAMILY, HIS FRIENDS, AND OUTSIDE VIEWERS ALONG WITH KRAKAUER'S THOUGHTS. THE THOUGHTS ABOUT McCANDLESS WERE SHAPED IN THE VIEWS OF THESE PEOPLE AND WERE SPREAD WITH VARIOUS QUOTES, ANECDOTES, EPIGRAPHS LETTERS, ETC. "I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the change to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life (Pg.15)." (This passage was found highlighted in one of McCandless's book.) The quote shows that Alex did not want a simple, easy life, but a life full of excitement and adventure. A reason why Jon Krakauer might have used this quote was probably to back up his idea for why McCandless had decided to hitchhike to Alaska.
"You need to surrender to some such ultimate purpose more fully, more unreservedly than you had ever done in the old familiar, peaceful days, in the old life that was now abolished and gone for good (Pg.103). (This passage was also found highlighted in one of McCandless's books.) Next to margins, McCandless wrote "need for a purpose'', this means that McCandless wanted to devote his life to this journey.
"He is mad about being small when you were big, but that's not it, he is mad about being helpless when you were powerful, but no, not that either, he is mad at being contingent when you were necessary, not quite it, he is insane because when he loved you, you didn't notice'' ~ Donald Berthelme (Pg.145). Krakauer probably included this quote to help express the relationship between Chris McCandless and his father.
"I'm going to have to be real careful not to accept any gifts from them in the future because they will think that they have bought my respect'' (Pg.21). (This quote comes from one of McCandless's letter to his sister, Carine.) Krakauer mostly uses this quote in the book to express that McCandless wanted to be independent of everyone, which is probably why he lived out of a backpack on his trip to Alaska, so he can only depend on the land and himself.
"Chris was born into the wrong century. He was looking for more adventures and freedom than today's society gives people''(Pg.174). (This was said by Andy Horowitz, one of Chris McCandless's friends). Krakauer interviews others that were close to McCandless, so he can share their view of McCandless, and it can help us characterize him in a more valid way.
"Over the past 15 years, I've run into several McCandless types out in the country. Same story: idealistic, energetic young guys who overestimated themselves, underestimated the country, and ended up in trouble.''(Pg.71) (This was written in a letter sent in by Nick Jans, one of the many who had heard about McCandless's story.) Krakauer might have included this to express other people's attitudes towards McCandless, along with comparing his characteristics.
To help describe McCandless, Krakauer included part of his own life's experience when he tried to follow his dream. He wrote "As a youth I am told, I was willful, self-absorbed, intermittently reckless, moody, I disappointed my father in the usual ways.''(Pg.134) He describes himself as this when he thinks back on the time when he tried to climb the Devil's Thumb, because it helps relate to what McCandless was described as when he had gone on his Alaskan journey. The author introduces McCandless's parents and family in depth by showing their relationship between him and his parents. On page 121 " Chris's relations with his parents which had been unusually courteous since his graduation from high school, deteriorated significantly that summer and Walt and Billie had no idea why."
He Also showed how they acted and their history before Chris's birth and then their reaction they had when hearing about Chris's death.
On page 102 " I didn't know what I was going to say. How do you tell someone that their child is dead?"
The specific characteristics Krakauer gave his family throughout the book were mainly: close, happy, mournful, and shaken. Jon Krakauer as we know was a young man who graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, but he worked as a carpenter and a commercial fishermen in Orlando. He was inspired to do such detailed review and go in depth when he heard about Chris because he himself has been close to the eyes of death, he once when on a hiking trip where 4 of his friends died due to the paucity of items and other resources. Knowing someone else did something else common to him but died doing it, inspired Krakauer to go in depth about Chris.
Krakauer personality relates backs to Chris's personality, by that I mean that they both have a exploration personality, as in they like to explore new frontiers, without regret. if you go in depth you can read articles and watch videos how Krakauer says he has no regret in doing what he did. They both lost someone thing important to to them, but in the end they both gave it up for the better overall purpose. After Krakauerr did extended research about Chris, he himself got that motivation of transcendentalism inside of him.
Jon intrudes the characters into the book "Into the wild" the same way he interviews them, whatever fact ,information, he gets from them, he uses it to his benefit as well as looking at things from the characters point of view. Bibliography "Into the Wild By Jon Krakauer Book Summary." Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer CliffsNotes. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. <http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/literature/into-the-wild.html>. Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. Print. Wayne Westerberg is the owner of a grain elevator that is located in Carthage, South Dakota. He meets Chris McCandless in 1990 when he sees the young man hitchhiking and gives him a ride. He gives McCandless multiple job offers several times while he’s staying in Carthage. Westerberg later begins to become close to McCandless. The two enjoyed each other’s company so much that McCandless began calling South Dakota his home. When Chris McCandless’ body was found dead, Westerberg gave authorities the boy’s social security number. The exchanging of McCandless’ social security number allowed the officials to make a positive identification that the body found was Chris McCandless’. By analyzing the actions of Wayne Westerberg throughout this novel, it is easy to conclude that he treated McCandless like his son. He did not want anything to happen to him and took care of him with jobs, shelter, and food. Wayne Westerberg is a very caring and dedicated man, as seen in his occupation and his service to the investigation on Chris McCandless’ death.
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