Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Here you can discuss anything related to Christopher McCandless.
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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby MaryEE » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:31 pm

I think he was a hero. I would never have the courage to do what he did in order to prove something. It must have been so hard knowing that nothing in your life would ever be the same and that everything you know would become everything you once knew. He had to start all over in a place where he was unsure of and was barely prepared. That takes serious courage

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby firstwave50 » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:22 pm

Finally saw the movie last night. I think Chris was a fool because of his youth. He thought he was invincible. He was totally unprepared for wilderness life in Alaska. He didn't bring the proper supplies, enough food, did he even have any rope? I was thinking if he had a strong rope or cable and a bow and arrow he might have been able to rig some sort of line to use to cross the river in the end. Even though he was an avid reader it didn't appear he had any knowledge of weather conditions/cycles in Alaska. Hence...he left too late and got stuck by the river. When people are young they want to explore the world with little thought of the people they leave behind or the hearts they break. Unfortunately he realized how important these things were to him right before he died. What a sad, sad story. Kind of reminds me of the 127 hours movie/story...guy was really unprepared in that one too.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby SteveSalmon » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:39 am


I'd like to suggest you read the book. The movie was great, but, it's the somewhat Hollywood version of Chris' story. You'll get a better idea of just how well Chris was prepared. This was not his first trip to Alaska. He had a gun. And NO ONE hikes with cables to cross rivers in their pack. The movie leads some to believe that he was there in the winter too which isn't true. He got there in the beginning of Alaskans call "Breakup".

Long before Alaska, Chris made a cave in somewhere in California his home for many months. You don't live in a cave for months and not earn some survival skill creds. He'd also done plenty of traveling on his own and Jon Krakauer's book will illustrate just how much he did.

In his end, Chris died living and that to me is far from a sad story really.

~Steve Salmon

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby Dizznmo » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:29 am

I can completely identify with Chris and his need to escape his family, what he did on many levels was very rave but also very cowardly. I want to be him and be able to be that brace especially at my age now of 46 and after losing my brother, Chris and not knowing how to go on without my brother who always promised me I would never have to be afraid, he would always take care of me. I was the adventurous one, I did and my brother read but he lost his life in alcohol which I have had the same problem as he did but we both had different journeys. In the end I let my brother down and will forever regret it but now he is gone and I feel completely alone in this world without him, just like Chris and his sister me and my brother were the same in being the only ones in our world who understood each other completely. We were both adopted and not biological siblings but we were brother and sister completely and knew each other like no other person in our lives could ever get! This is the main problem I have in calling Chris not my brother but Chris McCandless a coward, he was obviously brave in facing the wild but a complete coward in facing the emotions of life and sadly sometimes facing death in the wild is easier than dealing with family and society and believe me, I have thought many times of doing just as he did, my fear of the wild has been in part of what has kept me from doing it but mostly it was my conscience and not being able to face the guilt of what I knew it would put my parents through. After losing my brother I was angry and felt betrayed that I was left alone to deal with our parents and now how could I do that to them after they lost one child but my brother died accidentally, he didn't put us through waiting and wondering, a little because he was very sick in his alcoholism, a disease I also have but seem to be able to manage better than he did but he never chose to just leave without saying anything. Chris McCcandle was horrible for what he did to his family especially to his sister. It was a selfish journey, not one of exploration but of escape from facing the things he couldn't handle with his family. I want to love him but what he did to his parents, especially his mom and his sister was just so wrong on so many levels! He could have gone on his journey and even left them out but to not give them any sort of solace, to let them know he was ok, or why he felt he had to do this was cowardice. He was wrong to do that to a family that may not have been perfect but who seemed to love him, especially his sister, what he did to his sister was cruel and to me makes his fear outweigh his bravery. It makes me so sad for him but especially for his sister, his mother and his dad who have to live with an ungolfly amount of pain through a life he refused to face.

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby Dizznmo » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:51 am

I really want to enjoy his journey but what he put his family through in order to have is freedom just makes it wrong. He got his freedom by putting his family in a jail of torment, pain and worry, that makes his journey of freedom, enlightenment and courage not so courageous and down right selfish. Or maybe I am the one without courage because the love and guilt I would feel keep me from doing what I wish I had the courage to do just like him. I won't say that what he did wasn't brave, it was but just a trade, bravery against the elements to keep from facing the reality of family and society, not sure which is worse or better but he should have without a doubt sent something to his sister and mother to give them some sense of peace while he went out on his journey to find himself!

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby gypsyfree122 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:30 pm

I believe chris was a hero not because he survived for years and not because he was reckless but because he was in search of the true meaning of life and to me that is the most important thing!

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Re: Was Chris a hero or a fool?

Postby maarilynmaanson » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:47 pm

After learning about Chris's story, I was moved by his journey. I've read many cynical reviews and comments on his story. Many people claim he was selfish, which is baffling.
People are encouraged to "follow their dreams" or to "turn your dreams into reality," and Chris did just that. He decided that he would not allow anything - including emotional relationships he had with those he cared about - to prevent him from reaching out and grabbing his dream of making it to Alaska, to live off the land.
I admire that he was able to put his life behind him and solely focus on his desires. He had grown up as a good student, and he was constantly pleasing other people (his parents, for instance). This time, though, it was about following [i]his[i] heart. That is not selfish; it's courageous. One review that I read said he was not a hero because he ignored his problems and hid from them, essentially.
That makes me question: What exactly defines a hero? In my definition, Chris McCandless is a hero because he followed his dreams and lived with passion. In others' definitions, they may not find that to be heroic.
To conclude, Chris did not let others stop him, which is what I admire. He knew what he wanted, and he went after it. Although he died in the end, he came out as a victor because he accomplished his goal. He is a timeless hero that will continue to draw others into his fascinating story.

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