Was Chris a hero or a fool?

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Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby Hersh » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:16 am

My name is Hersh, from Iraq. I have beeen living in Sulaimainy for 2 years. I am in the American University of Iraq- Sulaimany. My teacher, Mr. Andrew, From the USA made us write a respond essay Whether Christopher was a hero or a fool. Here is What I wrote to him.

Hersh Seidgul
Writing 3
Feb 9, 2011
He Shouldn’t Have Been Foolish.

Christopher was a boy who was born in a rich East Coast family. He graduated from one of the best universities in the United States. However, he wasn’t content with his life and didn’t know what the truth about his existence was. Therefore, he decided to abandon his family and society to find his sincere self, which was his vital target. He thought that he wasn’t the person that he was supposed to be. Clearly, he was ready to sacrifice himself to find his original self and his true being. He went on a long journey that ended in Alaska. After living alone for 112 days, he died due to starvation. Life is a gift which is given by God. In life, we all have some responsibilities to implement, such as worshiping, serving our parents, and serving and protecting our countries, which are holy tasks. We all encounter hardships and crises. Nevertheless, Christopher ignored all of these responsibilities and pursued his selfish thought. Therefore, I believe that he was surely foolish.
Have you ever seen a hero who has run from a place where he has encountered problems? The answer is no because a hero is a person who is ready to face any difficulties in order to solve them. However, Christopher abandoned the place where he had problems, so his deeds such as leaving his family, money, and friends pointed out that he was a fool. Young children should be ready to sacrifice their lives in order to protect and develop their countries because if they don’t do it, who will? Nevertheless, Chris deserted his society instead of serving and protecting it. Once, he said, “How important it is in not life necessarily to be strong but feel strong.” His decision was the opposite of his quote because if he was strong or felt strong, he should have faced his problems in the society instead of his foolish decision, which was quitting the society. In addition, he also gave a bad message to all teenagers. His actions showed that leaving the society is a way to solve problems though it is the opposite of reality. For example, you have an internal problem in your home and want to solve it. Do you think that leaving your home may help you solve it? No, it isn’t possible; thus he was a fool. This isn’t the mere reason that persuaded me he was foolish; ignoring his loyal family and a great degree is another factor.
Even though he had a respectful and loving family and graduated from one of the best universities in the USA, he was being foolish and left them. His family gave him what he wanted and required. Therefore, he was supposed to take care of his parents, but he didn’t even think about it, and he also forfeited his family to fulfill his selfish aim. When parents become old, they can’t live independently because they may face many difficulties which they don’t have the ability to solve. Who is responsible to help elderly parents unless their children? Mr. Jamel, who is my relative, is very happy because he has a son. He usually says that his son is the mainstay of his life. He knows when he gets old, his son will be the first person to support him. As a result, Christopher should have remained at home to take care of his parents when they aren’t able to run their lives. Moreover, almost everyone tends to get a good degree in order to get a good job. According to Chris’s story, I realized that a professional degree can’t help you get a job if you are a fool because Chris had a good degree, but he didn’t have any job due to his foolishness. He also said,” The core of man’s spirit comes from experience.” However, he didn’t take any responsibilities in the society to enhance his experience. He should have gotten a great job and improved his skills. He also should have found what the truth is through working and experiencing. However, He was a fool due to not caring about these points.
There are some people who say he was a hero because he tried to be independent and to find the truth. He also burnt his money because money is nothing for heroes. However, their ideas are totally irrational. For their first reason, he could have been independent in his country. For example, he could have married the beautiful girl whom he met during his journey and lived independently. He also might have found the truth while living and working in his country. Although he went to find his true self, he killed himself. Wasn’t he a fool while going to find something but losing everything? Also, burning money makes no one a hero but a fool. If a man has a mind, how can he burn money unless it is a sign of being foolish? Why didn’t he save it or give it to charity? Well, good question. I know why because he was utterly foolish.
In conclusion, human beings are creatures who should be different from other creatures such as animals. For instance, we have some responsibilities and attributes which animals don’t have. For example, we must worship our God and invoke Him to give us paradise. We should live in societies where other populations live, be honest and helpful, save our countries, and take care of elderly people and support them. We are supposed to encounter severe hardships because we are strong and can defeat every difficult circumstance. We should also respect our parents and obey them, get a good degree and get tasks, and respect life and save it. We shouldn’t put ourselves in danger because we desire to have safe lives. Finally, we should get married and produce new generations who will repeat what we have done. These are some difference between us and animals. Let me ask you a vital question, did Christopher do what human beings are supposed to do? No, he didn’t, and his actions were totally the opposite of people’s deeds. He acted merely like an animal; therefore, he was a fool.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby florezrealty1 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:53 am

A selfish hero or a fool unlike any of the common fools?

I'm surprised more people have not replied to this post because it seems vital to Chris' philosophy on life. I will say that I did not read all of the posting but parts of it and I see where the argument of Chris being a fool comes from. I'll keep it short because I just watched the movie and I got school tomorrow and I'm tired but I had to write about this. Fighting for things that are not worth fighting for is just foolish right? Attending college for a degree without hope for learning something that can be of benefit to you and others is foolish right? laughing at a joke somebody you like told, just because you like them and not because the joke is funny is foolish right? Most people that might read this will say yes to all my questions, yet at one time or another you or someone who you know has fell into a trap of followings paths that are not truly meaningful.

I have just seen the movie, and his story might be different in real life but if his journey into foolishness is anything to what is portrayed here then you would have to agree and say that this man was a hero. He is a hero because he dared to find out what most people in this world are afraid to find out. We are afraid to talk to someone we don't know for fear of rejection, or to ask for help because someone will look at us funny, or to say sorry because others will look at us as week.

However, he was not a hero for you and me but for himself. He is not a hero in my context and he will never be a hero in your context because each of us need to walk our own path to self discovery. Chris' path to self discovery was struggling with nature, smelling it, feeling it, being it, dying as a part of it. My path I know is different then Chris' and I most certainly believe that other peoples paths are different then mine. The real challenge is stopping and using all the senses you have along with intuition and finding out what is right for you. The gift chris' gave to those who are struggling to "find themselves" is that there is a chance for people to do what is right for them. If you don't believe me, look at his last picture. that is one happy man.

BTW: He definitely is foolish in wondering into the wild by himself without experience and proper equipment. However, I must say that the rapids adventure he had was awesome. Wish I could of been there.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby SteveSalmon » Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:04 am

Last edited by SteveSalmon on Thu May 03, 2012 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby bobenns » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:11 am

Perspective is everything. Change your perspective and your conclusion will change. Hersh describes Chris's dilemma from his own perspective. There is a cultural perspective involved as well and some basic assumptions that tilt the balance before the facts are weighed. From that perspective Hersh is right. If one believes that children should be unquestioning and loyal to their parents you will interpret Chris very differently than if you believe that one must have freedom of thought and pursue truth at all costs. Chris's dilemma was an existential one. He set out to experience life on life's terms, not the terms he felt were being hypocritically dictated for him. In many cultures even today children are still taught to respect their elders and not question their motives. You take your place as an obedient son or daughter. That is your place in that culture. If you question it then you are a troublemaker. In Chris's case he was sent to an elite university where he was to learn critical thinking among other things. To analyze and interpret and think for himself, not to be an obedient son, but to be a leader, to seek the truth, to seek true answers to questions, to leave no stone unturned. Very different from the teachings of unquestioned obedience. He found himself questioning his own existence and set out to find a truer reality, a purer truth, a more meaningful experience. He was a man with all the energy and enthusiasm of youth but lacking the wisdom and maturity that comes with years of experience. He was foolish to go out so ill prepared, but he was not a fool for wanting to find his true self. He was the hero of his own cause who made a fatal error.

My Japanese friend was telling me how hard it is for young people in traditional cultures today. They are torn between the tradition teachings and expectations and the reality of the 21st century. You can't live in both worlds without hypocrisy. The cultural tradition dictates are in complete conflict with the reality of modern life in an industrial country.
There is no greater scripture than nature, for nature is life itself.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby DGumby » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:59 pm

I believe Chris was a hero not a fool. Through him we can all learn about ourselves and we can take from his experience and the outcome of that experience to base our own judgement of what we should do if we are ever in that situation where we need to find ourselves and separate from society for a while. He is a hero because he inspired a mass amount of people indirectly with his idea for the end to hunger, he has inspired many people to contribute to the effort to end hunger but is ironic in the way that he died. I believe he is one of the heroes in my life and I applaud him for his actions.

georgian supertramp
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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby georgian supertramp » Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:53 pm

He was very brave and Unusual Person

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby marcym » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:24 am

Hersh wrote:My name is Hersh, from Iraq. I have beeen living in Sulaimainy for 2 years. I am in the American University of Iraq- Sulaimany. My teacher, Mr. Andrew, From the USA made us write a respond essay Whether Christopher was a hero or a fool. Here is What I wrote to him.

Hersh Seidgul
Writing 3
Feb 9, 2011
He Shouldn’t Have Been Foolish.

He thought that he wasn’t the person that he was supposed to be. Clearly, he was ready to sacrifice himself to find his original self and his true being...
...He acted merely like an animal; therefore, he was a fool.

Dear Hersh,
I'm reading only now your post, what the people can say about it? That is just your opinion, nothing more, somebody can be agree with you, others not...when I have started to read I have appreciated these words: "[color=#BF0040]He thought that he wasn’t the person that he was supposed to be. Clearly, he was ready to sacrifice himself to find his original self and his true being". [/color]You're right , only for that, this is my opinion.
I respect your point of view because I think that we have different cultures, so I don't put in discussion what you think but my thought is very far of yours... The life is a miracle...I have survived in a terrible crash, has been a miracle, when has happened I had the same age of when Chris died...only God know which is the path, only God know when is the time, and we must find ourselves for can to understand who we really are and what is the correct in the life.
I haven't children but if in the future I'll have ones i'd like only the best and absolutely don't want think that somebody wants children just for have help during the oldness...I'd like the best, not a prison for them, I'd like that they can feel truly loved and free, and from that freedom they can be able to became good and honest people.
Please think about my words: the love is freedom, and only when you love really a son, you are able to understand that when is time for him to go, is his chose, is his life...and how he can to live his life if he doesn't understand who is really he, and what are his priorities???
Believe me, leave the comfort life for to go to do hard work, without money, and probably Chris felt himself alone, not loved, is really complicated to do...is not for all.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby JillyBean » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:11 am

A Hero to Ones Self


I live in the UK and have just watched the film Into The Wild. I have been profoundly moved by the story.

I started off by being really jealous that Chris could go off on his own and experience the adventures and simple beauty of his surroundings. He also had the courage and spirit to do what he felt compelled to do - for whatever reasons. I think his only downfall was niaevity in thinking that nature (and God?) would provide for him, as accepting help from anyone was too akin to listening to "society", which he was totally against.

During the film, I kept hoping that he would contact his family one way or another, as they must have been in anguish not knowing where he was or that he was ok - even if he felt he hated his parents, he should have perhaps thought of his siblings; however, he must have had his own reasons for this which seem to be un-known?

Regarding Chris' parents, it is always easy to blame our parents and I am not suggesting they were blameless, but we are still responsible for our own behaviour and lives at the end of the day. Perhaps Chris was trying to prove a point to his parents (and having a "gap year?) which just got out of hand.

I came to the end of the film and felt so totally sad of such a waste of a young person's short life - but at least he experienced something that some of us will never get the chance to do - to grasp life by the horns and enjoy the beauty and wonder that exists, whilst we can.

Rest in Peace and happiness Chris. God Bless you and your Family

J x

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby daniellebcan » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:35 pm

When you imagine yourself living out your dream, the thought sheds light on what you as a person are most passionate for. Passions in one’s life don’t necessarily always have to stay the same. Dreams are subject to change. However, the one consistency of these thoughts is that they solely belong to you, in your mind. Everyone else’s opinions don’t matter. Chris McCandless simply was living out his own ideal life. Chris wanted to escape being trapped in civilization while also attempting to discover his own self along the way. Chris McCandless is not by any means an idiot. He is a heretic, defying the lines of conformity and pushing the limitations of our society’s secure boundary.
Chris was trapped in a community that created an illusion of fake happiness, and he was merely looking to discover the truth. He was possessed a desperate, undeniable need for true meaning that only he could provide answers for. Krakauer includes in the book Into the Wild a letter written by Chris to Ron Franz, an excerpt states Chris’s opinion. “You are wrong if you think joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living” (57). Chris wanted to give up his life as a functioning citizen in his community. He wanted to be destitute and wild, that’s what made him the most happy. As humans we logically pursue the things in our lives that give us the most happiness as well. This is why Chris McCandless doesn’t deserve the title of an idiot or a moron. He is merely a heretic, a person who challenges the everyday norm. Many people can’t agree with his choice to live like a vagrant. But we don’t have to agree, we just have to understand. Chris did what made him happy and that is not a quality possessed by someone who is incompetent.
Traveling across the untamed places of our world gives him a high that feeds his desire for adventure. Chris writes in the same letter to Ron an inspirational message to urge Ron to give up his traditional lifestyle, but also sheds light on his decision to go into the wilderness himself.
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure” (Krakauer 57).
This passage is emblematic to the core of Chris’s life in the wild. He truly believes and lives by those words he wrote to on Franz. Chris strived to find his inner self and in doing so inspired many to follow their own dreams and for that he should be recognized. Chris McCandless was deeply compassionate, and a significant part of his travels comes from the injustice of society and how selfishly and greedily most Americans lived. Not only could he not identify with living a life like that, but he was the kind of person who was real. Living in a society like that was all just an imitation of real happiness. Chris wrote in a journal entry “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). This passage shows how Chris feels right after he walks into the wild. He is proud of himself and clearly is happy. This was the beginning of his spiritual revolution. His words also explain how his great need for freedom and independence is rewarded only when he is tramping across America. Chris sought refuge in nature. The open road was his sanctuary, and true home. It was the place that his heart felt most at peace and that’s a feeling all humans deserve to experience.
Chris McCandless died a happy man. He had a happy life and although it was tragically cut short, he died fulfilling what made him the happiest. Some argue that Chris was suicidal and traveling to the Alaskan bush was a death wish. Some argue he was an ill-prepared young kid who was too naïve to survive. Some merely accuse him of the greatest incompetence and idiocy. I argue that he was happy. Chris did what made him feel the best about himself and his life and I think that alone is worth calling him a heretic. His nonconformist ways made people believe that he was stupid, but really he was just seeking out true meaning in his life. In fact, we should be nothing but proud of Chris McCandless for being one of the bravest people to walk the Earth. He was willing to sacrifice everything in search of his purpose here, and that, I truly believe are the qualities of a heretic.

Chris McCandless is, and always will, remain my hero.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby 11duck11 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:37 am

This goes out to the original poster
I'm not even sure you watched the movie or read up on the subject at hand at all, and if you did, you surely didn't understand it. I didn't bother reading through your entire essay, which was obviously written by an educated person, but perhaps a fool? You are the type of person that Alexander was trying to get away from. You had asked "Did he do what a human was supposed to do?" (not an exact quote but pretty close), who are you to ask a question like that? Life is about what you want to do and not what you see the average person doing. He wanted to escape and be one with nature, the way we were put on this planet. If anything, Alexander was doing what humans are supposed to do, explore, be submersed in nature, find his true self and be free, does that sound foolish to you? Also I wanted to add on to what you said about him taking care of his parents, they were at most 60 years of age and he only intended on being out there for a few years, and he would have returned. He could have easily made it back with ample time to take care of his parents, not to mention he had a more than adequate sister.

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