Question

Jack London, author of "To Build a Fire" and "Call of the Wild,"...

Jack London, author of "To Build a Fire" and "Call of the Wild," was not the adventurer he proposed to be in his books, and Walt McCandless was not the ideal father he claimed to be. Why do you think Chris judged both of these men so differently for their shortcomings? Had Chris lived, do you believe his relationship with his parents would have been different?


This is a question related to Jon Krakauer's famous novel "Into the Wild." I had to derive this question by myself in another assignment, so this question was not given by any instructor I have. Since I chose to use this question, I have to make a response solely on that.


This response is assessed for its completion, the presence of a claim, clear textual evidence, and thorough analysis bridging the evidence with the claim. There is a "cohesion" strand and "audience" strand on the rubric I am given.


In this response, include your claims, textual evidence, analysis, and counterclaim (which should all be highlighted in different colors or clearly differentiated in another way). Most of this response, however, must be with the analysis and evidence portions.


I have attached below a sample model of a paragraph that they are looking for:


Someone who walks into the Alaskan wilderness with a bag of rice, a .22 caliber rifle, eight books, a camera, and a few other supplies must be entirely mad—or a complete narcissist.  Or maybe, he is just an idealist tired of rules, pressure, and a past that broke his spirit, and thus, he is in search of a new life? [CLAIM (focus); COHESION (focus)]

Chris McCandless, while grossly unprepared for his journey and absolutely naive, is not the reckless idiot many people believe him to be (Krakauer 3). [Voice: Using sophisticated language and rhetorical questions/strategies]

Chris's critics, especially Alaskan natives, argue his hubris qualify him as an idiot--a wacko of sorts really. [Cohesion: Counterclaim with a rebuttal]

However, even though Chris was not well-equipped to survive the summer months on the Stampede Trail, his under-preparedness was not stupid, but rather, it was a test of spirit and will. [Claim: our thesis]

Those who met him on his journey can attest to these sensibilities. In fact, Jim Gallien, the last person to see him alive, said he was "congenial, and seemed well-educated" as he "peppered [Gallien] with thoughtful questions" about the Alaskan wilderness (Krakauer 5). [Concrete Detail: (paraphrase and weave in a couple of quoted words)]

Inspired by his favorite writers and philosophers, like Tolstoy and Frost, Chris clearly wanted to see if he could survive in nature, which he believes is where people belong; in doing so, he can return to his own natural state: all that is good, moral, and human.  The transcendentalists believed in the individual's capacity for goodness, as did Tolstoy, who sought to attain ascetic morality. Young people are very impressionable, and Chris is a perfect example of this fact. Denying society was his only way, in his own mind, to become this individual he so deeply wanted to become. [Cohesion: Rich analysis bridging the claim and evidence; this shows the depth of thought and leaves little questions for the reader]

In fact, Wayne Westerberg experienced Chris's desire to be moral, recalling how hard he worked while in South Dakota; he said once he started a task, he just had to complete it, as it "was almost like a moral thing for him" (Krakauer 18). [Concrete Detail: (Evidence)]

He had high standards, according to Westerberg, and it was those standards, not his lack of preparation or arrogance, that led to his death.  In a world where people are too often driven by impulse and selfishness, Chris should absolutely be revered for trekking into the wild frontier. [Cohesion: Reiterating his point to tie this all together]

It takes courage to truly live by one's standards, which is what Chris did—even though it did lead to his demise.

Answer & Explanation

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