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Jon Krakauer, the author of Into the Wild, and Chris McCandless, the main character, share very similar stories and personalities. The best was in which these similarities are depicted is in chapters 14 and 15, when Krakauer inserts himself into the story. In these chapters Krakauer highlights a lot of parallels between himself and McCandless and through these highlights we can look at Krakauer as a credible biographer because he has a deeper understand for McCandless’s motivations. Krakauer and McCandless have very similar obstacles and backgrounds which is exemplified in chapter 14. Both men at one point in life sought isolation, and more specifically, sought isolation with nature. Both thought they had something to prove, may it be to themselves or those around them.
“I was twenty-three, a year younger than Chris McCandless when he walked into that Alaska bush” (Krakauer, 135). They are both two young men going out into the wilderness trying to live on their own and accomplish their own desired feat. Krakauer believed that since they shared similar challenges and characteristics, that their emotions and thoughts may have been the same too. No one really knows what McCandless was thinking at the time but Krakauer believes that he felt some loneliness from time to time. Krakauer once believed that he could live without people and friends just like McCandless though, but Krakauer admits that every once in a while he felt lonely so he infers that McCandless must have felt this same loneliness during his time in the wilderness.
Krakauer also wants to elicit the comparison of their relationships with their fathers. “My father was a volatile, extremely complicated person, possessed of a brash demeanor that masked deep insecurities” (147). Both have fathers that they did not quite get along with and had tough relationships with. This also adds more credibility to Krakauer as a biographer as he shares yet another thing in common with McCandless. The motives of both characters are another important connection that must be made; both characters shared resilience and were determined to succeed. Krakauer’s own account is now made even more crucial to the book as we now see that both characters shared similar motives and mindsets.
After being denied once by Devil’s Thumb Krakauer is still determined to climb to the top. “In truth my escapade on the north face had rattled me, and I didn’t want to go up the Thumb again at all. But the thought of returning to Boulder in defeat wasn’t very appealing either” (146). This can be compared to McCandless’s strong belief in his ability to survive. McCandless’s journey had not been an easy one and he had not been very successful, yet he was still determined in his abilities and would not give in.
The fact that Krakauer also shares a similar mindset as McCandless makes his verdict about McCandless’s life that much more credible. Krakauer’s most important claim is that McCandless did not commit suicide. Even though McCandless states in his final postcard to Westerberg that he may never make it out alive, he still strongly belives in his own abilities. McCandless was under the false notion that, if he was able to survive everything so far, then he could survive the rest of his journey.