Grade 7 Students Analyze “Into the Wild”

Concordia Grade 7 students have been reading the non-fiction book “Into the Wild,” about a wealthy young man, Chris McCandless, who decided to walk into the Alaskan wilderness - and perished. 

Students answered the question, “Should he be considered a hero or a fool?” in essays using evidence from the text.

“I think Chris is a fool because he was very unprepared to go into the wild, he took what he had for granted. He was very fortunate to be born into a family with enough money to afford an education. Chris is a fool because he was apathetic by not caring about others’ feelings. Chris cannot assume that by removing himself from society he will become a better person when society and the world are what shapes you,” said Ella.

“I thought that the book really taught me how to analyze and go into depth about the reasons why Chris McCandless did what he did. I thought the main character, Chris, was a hero because he did what he believed in, he was nice to others - and he inspires others,” said Khanh. 

“I think Chris McCandless was not a hero to everyone because he abandoned everything and decided to lead a life in the wild with little to no necessities. He also made poor decisions that led to his death. He has some points that could've made him a hero towards other young people but I personally would not present him as a hero that would be a good influence to people in society,” said Chung Yi. 

“I thought Chris was a hero for several reasons. First, because his actions always followed what he strongly thought and believed in, rather than trying to blend in with the crowd. He also gave meaningful and heartfelt advice to people he met in his Alaska journey. For instance, when Ronald Franz was suffering because he had wasted so much time after his wife and child had passed away, Chris advised him to embark on a traveler’s life and set joy for himself. Lastly, Chris had the bravery to try new things, take risks to find answers to what he is truly looking for. Many of us try to live in much comfort as possible, but McCandless took risks in the wilderness to find what he was looking for. Because many people are blurred by the money society is showing you, they do not truly see what they like or what they truly value. Even though he was privileged and had all the things he needed, such as money, career, popularity, intelligence, he hated the society that only valued money and judged people by looking at their wealth. In that society, Chris was not able to find what he was truly looking for in his life and what he wanted. So he went to the wilderness to find an answer,” said Na Hyeon.

Was Chris a hero or a fool - or both? Read “Into the Wild” and find out.