Into the Wild

Break down Craig Medred’s arguments against Krakauer’s portrayal of Chris as an admirable person. Medred argues that not only was Chris not someone to be admired or emulated, he was also a “bum, poacher and thief.” Clearly, Medred believes that Krakauer portrayed Chris’s story in a way that mythologized his life and ultimate death as a seeker and adventurer. For Medred, there is nothing romantic about the way Chris lived or died. Medred is both an Alaskan and experienced outdoorsman, so he argues from a position of authority. He bases his arguments on a harshly realistic and unromantic view of Chris’s journeys and facts that he feels Krakauer omitted in constructing his narrative.

Questions to consider:
• Is Medred’s assessment of Chris accurate?
• Are Medred’s critiques of Krakauer’s book valid?
• What is Medred’s motivation for challenging Krakauer’s narrative?
• Is Medred’s assessment too harsh?
• What narrative is Medred pushing?

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Supporting sources (provide quotes from the primary and at least one secondary source):
Primary sources:
• Into the Wild
• “The Beatification of Chris McCandless: From Thieving Poacher into Saint”

Suggested secondary sources:
• “Should We Still Care About Chris McCandless?”
• “Calls of the Wild on Stage and Screen”
• “How Chris McCandless Died”
• “The Fiction That is Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild”

Suggested structure:
I. Intro with thesis
II. Krakauer’s portrayal of McCandless
III. Medred’s portrayal of McCandless
IV. Your assessment of McCandless
V. Conclusion

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