Response to Nick Jans

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Response to Nick Jans

Post  Admin on Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:36 pm

Post a 300-500 word response to the following:
Due November 7

Jon Krakauer, in Into The Wild cites Nick Jans in a letter to Outside Magazine:

"Over the past 15 years, I've run into several McCandless types out in the country. Same story: idealistic, energetic young guys who overestimated themselves, underestimated the country, and ended up in trouble. McCandless was hardly unique; there's quite a few of these guys hanging around the state (Alaska), so much alike that they're almost a collective cliche. The only difference is that McCandless ended up dead, with the story of his dumbassedness splashed across the media...(Jack London got it right in "To Build a Fire." McCandless is, finally, just a pale 20th century burlesque of London's protagonist, who freezes because he ignores advice and commits big-time hubris)...
His ignorance, which could have been cured by a USGS quadrant and a Boy Scout manual, is what killed him. And while I feel for his parents, I have no sympathy for him. Such willful ignorance...amounts to disrespect for the land.
...McCandless's postcards, notes, and journals...read like the work of an above average, somewhat histrionic (melodramatic) high school kid--or am I missing something?"

(Krakauer 71-72)[i]

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what he said

Post  mrsberg on Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:29 pm

true dat

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Re: Response to Nick Jans

Post  Sophie N on Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:36 pm

Well, I certainly understand what he is saying. I think that this one is better than some of the other letters and comments we have read or heard. This one isn't so much trying to turn McCandles into a bad person, it's mostly just stating that they think he was making foolish choices. I don't really agree with this statement, but I don't disagree either. In a way it would help for us to know what McCandles is looking for. If it is wisdom, I think that this man is mostly right. It is a little foolish for a person who had so much ahead of him, and so many opportunities to just give it all up and live in the wild. If it is more of an experiment about life without the common luxuries than I don't find it foolish at all. If it is an understanding of humans, I think it is also a bit silly to go into the wild. I mean most people who are looking for an understanding of themselves, or how they can make a difference, turn to charity work or religion. Chris didn't speak of expecting himself to do any sort of work to protect or promote the experiences he had, he just wanted to do it. I see how someone who grew up in a home such as Chris' would be curious to know how people live and are happy without the simple luxuries that we take for granted. I also understand how people might want to put themselves in that situation just to get a better understanding of what it is like rather than reading books or watching movies to try and get the idea. I think that what makes McCandles different from most, not of "his type" but of most people from a similar background, is that his thirst is unquenchable, he can't just go on a mission trip or something and decide ok, this is who I am and this is how I can make a difference. What might be taken as foolishness is that he is unable to stop looking... and when he dies on his own, without really working to make any sort of difference to others, it seems a bit selfish, and foolish.

Sophie N
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Repy to Nick Jans

Post  Kathy N. on Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:01 pm

Finally, that’s all I can say. All along I have been thinking the exact same thing Nick Jans is saying. I absolutely believe in every word he said. It also connects my point about wisdom to this as well. I say Chris McCandless is smart, people say it throughout the book and I see it throughout the book as well, but while he might be smart he is far from wise. The definition of smart is having or showing quick intelligence or ready mental capability. Wise means aware, informed, or knowing. Chris is far from wise because if he was aware, informed or knowing, exactly what Nick said, he would have known to bring a Boy Scout manual and a map. Yet he didn’t because he lacks the trait of wisdom. Now, I hate when people make excuses for him. He knew what he was doing and that he could die, so there are no excuses for Chris McCandless. In the author’s note, on the last page of it, Jon Krakauer writes “Instead, his innocent mistakes turned out to be pivitol and irreversible, his name became the stuff of tabloid headlines, and his bewildered family was left clutching the shards of a fierce and painful love.” This is one of the biggest excuses I have heard yet. “His innocent mistakes!” There was no innocence in his mistakes, he didn’t take the time and really think about the repercussions of his action to go to Alaska. On pg.18 Krakauer writes “I think maybe part of what got him into trouble was that he did too much thinking.” Obviously, on this decision it seems he should have done a little more thinking. Lastly, it’s extremely ironic that Chris is overly fearful of water yet nothing else. I laughed when he said he has a phobia of water because he has no fear of anything else. When he went into the wild, he wasn’t scared of bears or wolves, he was scared of water. It just amuses me. So overall I completely agree with Nick Jans’s article.

Kathy M. Nowak
November 1st, 2012

Kathy N.
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Re: Response to Nick Jans

Post  conor w on Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:29 pm

I think this guy is completely correct with his statement but I think there is one thing he is missing. The fact that the idea of bringing as little as he could was what Chris was looking for he didn't want for this to be a walk in the park he was looking for a challenge thats why he didn't even bring basics like instant food or a manual of some sort. I do agree with the fact that Chris was way in over his head. I don't think he realized just how hard things were if he was going to attempt to live of the land. Sure he may seem like a respectable person due to his courageous acts but he really could have been just crazy enough to believe this is what he wanted. That he could just go into one of the harshest environments in north America with almost no knowledge of how to survive and just expect to be fine. Also this person is absolutely correct how he was just the one was either dumb enough or stubborn enough to do this and end up dying. I think him and others that live in alaska are sick of have dreamers like Chris always hoping to find something and now one has died and he's getting phrased for it. What I wish I new was why he is showing only anger toward a foolish person looking to find some sort of fulfillment in their life. Why does this man come off as so angry at someone that lost their life in search of something like Chris was.

conor w
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Honor's Discussion response

Post  Henry L. on Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:52 am

I completely disagree with this quote. After finishing Into the Wild and learning that what actually killed Chris McCandless was a fungal infection on some of the seeds that he had been eating I came to the conclusion that if it hadn't been for the fungus, he would have thrived out in the wilderness. He was able to survive for several months with minimal equipment and very little experience. So while he may have not been prepared, he certainly did know what he was doing. However, there is little doubt in my mind that a USGS quadrant and a boy scout manual would have helped him out a little. But even if he did know about the cable car across that river he probably wouldn't have wanted to use it. He was happy where he was, and just up until the end, he was doing pretty good. Moreover, about Chris McCandless's supposed ignorance, it seems to me that he tried to learn as much as possibly about where he was heading before he actually got there, he brought several books along with him, including that edible plant guide that eventually gave him that life-saving tip about the wild potatoes. He also spent several days in a library learning about the hardships of the Alaska bush that ultimately helped him survive. Another thing I disagree with is the assumption that Chris died out of ignorance. He did not freeze, or starve, he was poisoned by an almost undetectable fungus that very few people who were even highly experienced in edible wild plants would not have noticed either. In essence, Chris's luck just ran out, he did many reckless things before he got to Alaska, and just got lucky. But in the end, a USGS quadrant and a boy scout manual may have saved Chris McCandless's life, they would not have cured his ignorance.

Henry L.
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Reply to Nick

Post  Jane W on Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:19 pm

I completely agree with this statement. Throughout the entire book, I just think about how stupid, he is being and how easily he could have lived so easily if he had not been so naive. In addition, as the quote pointed out, he could have done so with a simple Boy Scout manual. To me it just seems ridiculous how ill prepared he was for his journey into Alaska, and if he just thought of himself as slightly less invincible to the world, maybe he would have actually survived in the wilderness, and found whatever he was looking for out there. It was not even just that he was being stupid out there; it is also that I feel for his parents. Totally being nice to them, and having a big speech to his family telling them about how much he really respected them all that, getting them all choked up, just to find out that he is leaving the next day. Morally I just think it was a wrong and cruel thing to do. Not to mention that they ended up having to find out their son is dead.
The only thing I slightly disagree about in the statement he gave was the part about how Chris was not special, and people die out there all the time. Even though this might be true, this was one of the first cases of which they found a body and they found records of diaries and journals. In addition, in a way I feel like Chris represents ever person that died in Alaska. Every story is important, however, this was one of the only stories, which were recovered. I think that it was a cool idea to take such an interest in this subject. As much as I dislike Chris for the decisions he made in his life, I respect his story, and I do not think that it telling the story is worth all the criticism it gets.

Jane W
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Chris's Ignorance

Post  Jade O. on Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:42 pm

Okay. I do and don't agree with this statement. I agree because, yes, there are a lot of guys who were like Chris and thought they were invinsible and could achieve anything, but I disagree because Chris is not completely ignorant. He thinks a lot and is very philosophical. I think he doesn't prepare himself well but he's not ignorant. He is arrogant, I do agree with that, but he doesn't ignore everything. He's not just throwing himself out into the wild. He wants to find what he's looking for and thinks carefully of how to find it. He is ignorant at points and he is naive, but that doesn't make him stupid. He's been able to survive just on the road, in the woods, and working at McDonalds for crying out loud. He's gotten through life by going with the flow. Even if he is different from everyone I don't completely agree with this quote. I think this quote is basically a longer way of saying that Chris is a stupid, ignorant guy who let his dumbassedness let himself get killed. That's basically what this quote is saying. He didn't want to die, I don't think, because otherwise he would have not left that note saying he needed help. I'm not sure if this is true or not but I don't know if all those guys had something in common because Chris was looking for something and I can't tell if the other guys who are like Chris were looking for something or not but Chris didn't just wander off into the woods because he wanted to end his life or "experiment." He was looking for something and had reason to go into the wild.
I guess his life could have been saved with a map, which he ignored to bring, or a boy scout book but he didn't want those because he would have had an easy way out. Being out in the wild was something Chris liked and wanted to do; to be a part of it. His ignorance didn't kill him, I mean it did play a part in his death, but a lot of other things played a part in his death and ignorance wasn't the main cause. So in conclusion I do and don't agree with this statement; that Chris is ignorant.

Jade O.
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Final Post for T1

Post  Camden G on Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:41 pm

I would have to say that Nick Jans was wright in saying that Chris McCandless was absolutely stupid in going into the Alaskan wilderness without any form survival guide. In his own way Chris was trying to write his own guide for life itself. After a couple of years of travel, Chris thought he could do anything and overcome any challenge. This was the source of his whole downfall. His own cockiness and pride caused him to lead himself into the wild and into deaths open arms. Despite his intelligence, Chris was extremely stupid for thinking that he was invincible. If he had possessed some form of a map or a form of survival training he would have probably walked out of those woods unharmed and still alive to continue on whatever crazy adventures he had left to accomplish. I would like to see if anyone like Chris could do the same thing and come out of it in one piece. What he did was admirable but at the very least foolhardy. The only person to temp the fates like that (and is still alive to my knowledge) is Bear Grylls. If I were to try a stunt like that I would clear out several REI’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods worth supplies to just to assure my own survival. Chris went into Alaska with only a large bag of rice and a small caliber rifle. Lots of people in my family hunt and camp in some extreme places and the one thing that they all do is over pack just to assure that they will not die of starvation of be stranded without a way out of whatever they get themselves into. No one in their right mind would attempt what Chris did. And for that I respect his efforts. However as I earlier said, he made a stupid decision.

Camden G
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Response to Nick

Post  Kenzie A on Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:57 pm

This is what I have been thinking throughout the whole book, every word that Nick Jans said about Chris McCandless is true in my opinion. Chris did over estimate himself and underestimated Alaska and thought he could be out there all alone and survive. This letter is so much different than the letters and poems and notes we have read so far in the book. This man really speaks his mind about what he thinks of Chris and the choices he is making. Nick obviously thinks Chris McCandless is dumb and foolish for doing what he is. Since we don’t exactly know what Chris is looking for or why he left it’s hard to judge him. If he was looking for something like a different life style or just to get away for the real society then I totally think he is not wise and is not making the best choice. If he was looking for something such as finding himself that would be a different story. That idea is not as much wise but creative. I understand he wants to get away and find something but the fact that he left his parents, his friends, and many other people that cared about him is truly unbelievably selfish and rude. The part I do disagree with is when Nick said that Chris was not special and how there’s many other people like him that do that same exact thing. That’s not true everyone is special in their own way and the other people that have been through Alaska searching for something did not have the same reason as Chris had. I believe that Chris is searching for something interesting, mysterious, and worthy of searching for. Maybe Chris never got to what he was looking for or maybe he did. We will never know because Chris made this stupid mistake and the first place and ended up dead in a bus. I think Chris might have wanted to die because of the notes he left.

Kenzie A
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agreed

Post  lia k on Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:22 pm

I completely agree. What Nick Jans said is pretty much the same exact thing that I have been thinking this whole book. I think it was pretty stupid for Chris to go out there without any type of guide, any experience, or any supplies. Its just like, what did he want to accomplish by doing this? to me it seems pretty pointless. he pretty much just threw his life away. he seemed to always have his head in the clouds not really thinking about what he was doing until it was to late. If he had maybe come more prepared for the trip he might have made it. MAYBE. but he didn't and it cost him his life. What Nick is saying is maybe a little bit harsh, but it is true. Because Chris may have not been all there but he was pretty brave to do this. Stupid, but brave. But honestly i feel like if Chris had complete over estimated himself in the way that he thought he could do anything. he thought he could survive in Alaska, with pretty much nothing. no experience, no money. if he had been smart enough to bring or find a map he would have made it out alive. if he had brought a guide on what to eat in the wild he would not have been eating TOXIC berries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he needs to know EVERY FREAKIN thing about what in the WORLD he is eating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT IS NOT GOOD TO EAT THINGS THAT YOU HAVE NO FRIKIN CLUE ABOUT!!!!!!!! its bad! very very bad! but yea, Chris was not the SMARTEST guy. but i have to admit. he was brave. very stupid, and absent minded. but brave. thank you. that is all i have NICE to say about this. Smile

lia k
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Response to Letter

Post  Sophie W on Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:31 pm

Nick Jans is one of the few that seemed to have discovered the pure truth of the matter with Chris McCandless. By going into the raw Alaskan state with no more food and survival supplies than he could carry on his back, Chris was not heroic or admirable, he was foolish and more or less a jerk. My overall reaction of Jans' letter was feeling relief that I was not the only one to feel that way about Chris, to think that he was completely underestimating the wrath of nature and entirely overestimating his survival skills. Despite that I agree with Jans' letter overall, I do disagree in other minor details, such as that I personally do feel slight grief for McCandless. Even though his idiotic immature self brought him into nature's path, I feel remorse and sadness when thinking that Chris could still be alive to this day, had he only brought simple, common things such as a map. A map that could have saved his life. So, while feeling sad that comes with the mildly depressing thought, at the same time, once again, it leads me to agreeing with Jans. McCandless underestimated the wilderness and never thought to bring something as simple as a map, helping support Jans' claim, McCandless' "dumbassedness". I'm relatively a rather negative person, so I had been thinking to myself all along the journey of this book, 'He is not smart at all, what would ever drive a person to do something as stupid as this?', so it was nice to know that I truly wasn't the only one to think this, and that some people aren't afraid to hold back what they really think and just tell the world, just as Nick Jans did.

Sophie W
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Re: Response to Nick Jans

Post  Dylan M on Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:49 pm

Nick Jans was right to say what he said. He was honest and spoke what he ment. There is nothing wrong with what he said. I don't one hundred percent believe with with him, but I do understand where he is coming from. He has seen so many different cases where this story has happened and he knows it can be avoided. He seeds Chris like he would see a nieve twelve year old. Chris was always a smart kid, but he was never had street or world smarts. I Don't agree with Nick Jans saying that he didn't really care that he died. Smart or not smart I think that all deaths should at least be cared about. I can see how Chris thinks and I see an innovative spirit in Chris that is different from the normal persons. He was more courageous than most people I know. Either way his death doesn't deserve to be seen as a non cared about event. I for one care that he died and can't see a similarity with him and most other people.

Dylan Madison

Dylan M
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Response to Nick Jans

Post  David B. on Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:38 pm

Nick Jans in my opinion is completely right. His points and opinions are reasonable and justified, even though he may have said it pretty harshly. There are a lot of nature freaks, or crazy people who want to discover something out in the wilderness that is larger than life. They all go and explore to their hearts content until they realize that what they are doing is dangerous. He is saying that Chris is only special because he died out in Alaska. They are all the same and lived life on the edge, it was just a question of if when will this one come back to their senses. However, Chris died in the wilderness and because of that got a lot of media attention. Nick Jans believes that he doesn't deserve that attention, and neither do I. Everyone who feels bad for Chris and says that he is a hero is plain crazy. What Chris did to his family and friends is so completely selfish it disturbs me. He left his parents and didn't even bother to say goodbye or even tell them where he is going. Nick Jans is completely right to say he doesn't deserve attention just because of this soul reason. Chris's parents gave him everything. They raised him and paid for him to go to college. On the other hand, what Chris does is he goes and gets out in the wilderness and ends up dying. In addition, Chris had everything. He was a talented student and writer, and from my knowledge excelled in school. Chris then goes and throws it all away. He took all of his progress in reality, and tried to live in fantasy land. In conclusion, Nick Jans is right and the point he is making I agree with completely.

David B.
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Response

Post  Jen P. on Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:41 pm

This quote pretty much sums up my thoughts about Chris McCandless and his journey. I think that what Nick Jans is saying is completely true. Chris had no clue to what he was doing, so he pretty much had death looming over him the whole time. Chris McCandless was constantly putting himself in dangerous situations and pushing himself more and more so often that it seemed like didn’t even care if he died. He didn’t have many supplies, and was ill prepared for what he was about to face. Then, if people tried to kindly give him supplies like food, clothing, or money, he would just refuse it. I don’t believe he was doing it to be polite, I think he was trying to make things harder for himself.

Although Chris McCandless was being extremely ignorant, I am not under the impression that he was stupid. It even says in the book that he was smart. I think it was just that he was so stubborn that he didn’t want to take advice or help from anybody, which in the end could have saved him. So I agree with Jan’s point that Chris froze to death because “he ignores advice and commits big-time hubris”. His want for complete solitude and individualism kept him from seeing the practical side of things, which I find quite annoying, because I feel like his death could have been very easily avoided.

I also have a hard time understanding why someone would even willingly leave their life behind if they had a comfortable life and a good future. I know that he was sick of living in his routine and didn’t want a safe, secure future, but what I can’t see is how after living in the wild for a couple of months someone could still not want to go back. Chris McCandless had what many people would be very happy with, but he just gave it all away, all because he wanted to live the life that Jack London had wrote about. So overall, I can say that I agree with Nick Jan.

Jen P.
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Nick Jans Note

Post  Dan H. on Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:43 pm

Even though Nick Jan’s letter is very critical and harsh, I can’t say that I disagree with his opinion. It does seem as though Chris McCandless overestimated himself, thinking he was so good that he would be able to just abandon his family, friends, and belongings and live in the middle of nowhere without anything bad happening to him. I think that Chris McCandless should have thought a little bit more about what he was leaving behind and what he was getting himself into. Not only did he die, but several times throughout the book, he found himself in a lot of trouble. For example: “An unusually robust wall of thunderheads reared up in the afternoon sky, and it began to rain, very hard, over much of the Detrital Valley… when McCandless tried to start the car [his yellow Datsun] soon thereafter, the engine wouldn’t catch, and in his impatience he drained the battery.” (Krakauer, 28)
The worst part about the whole incident is that he left his family to worry and cry about him. He didn’t even provide a way for his family to keep in touch with him, giving himself a new name, leaving his cell phone at home, and refraining from writing any letters to his family. His sister Carine was left devastated for life when she heard that Chris was dead. “‘I can’t seem to get through a day without crying,’ she says with a look of puzzlement. ‘For some reason the worst is when I’m in the car by myself. Not once have I been able to make the twenty-minute drive from home to the shop without thinking about Chris and breaking down.’” (Krakauer, 129)
However, I don’t think Chris McCandless was a complete idiot. He had a purpose to what he was doing. He preferred freedom to security, and was a more adventurous person than most people. “In reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.” (Krakauer, 57) In my opinion, it’s never a completely foolish idea to pursue your dreams. In this case, Chris McCandless pursued his dreams in a sort of foolish way.

Dan H.
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Last post of trimester one

Post  Hannah H on Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:44 pm

I agree with the quote on page 71 and 72. Chris McCandless is very ignorant. He would rather freeze to death than walk out of the cold Alaskan air unaccomplished. I think Chris McCandless kind of over estimate himself. He felt like he could do anything because he couldn't be talked out of stuff and he was brave. In a way Chris is brave I mean going into Alaska with only a pound of rice. He just shouldn't be so cocky. He should have been prepared going into the alaskan desert. The truth is nobody is guaranteed safeness, and obviously something deeper was going on it home. I feel bad for his parents because I know they must love him and running off with only the accessional letter must hurt, especially when he died I know his parents must have been devastated. His sister was also especially upset when she found out about chris's passing. I think if Chris wanted to be free he could have chosen a different way, Something less dangerous.
Chris's family also should have probably tried to stop him. When that man kind of took Chris under his wing for a little bit providing him with a place to stay and he was willing to adopt him as his own. I think that Chris should have stayed there with him. It was kind of like somebody you cared about walked into your life only to be taken away and when Chris worked at McDonald's I think he liked it until he started to be told kind of what he could and couldn't do. I think Chris just didn't want to be told what he couldn't do. That is just a part of life that everyone has to face.

Hannah H
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response

Post  Sadie CC on Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:45 pm

I do not agree with Nick Jans, but I believe that many of the statements he made were accurate. Chris did go into a very dangerous situation with very little gear, his story was well publicized, and he died when he could have been saved by knowing the land. However, for the most part, I think that the conclusions made were wrong. It was not Chris’s fault that people were drawn to his story, or that reporters twisted it to suit their papers. It’s not Chris McCandless who is asking for pity and publicity. He wanted to be anonymous and be apart from the rest of the world. Chris knew that his actions could possibly kill him, and in that full knowledge he refused to bring maps. Chris was in charge of his own destiny. He was in his twenties and managed well on his own for a long time. I would not have taken the chances that Chris did. I would not have been willing to lose my life in pursuit of greater knowledge, but I am not Chris. He thought that life was tearing himself free of society and testing his will against nature. Chris was similar to many other explorers, but different too. He was smart and planned and knew how to deal with people. I doubt that a boy scout manual would have magically conjured up food or information he could have used. Although Chris overestimated the wild and thought he was somehow higher than others, it does not follow that he was an idiot. I don't agree with Nick Jans. I think that I don't know Chris well enough to say that he was crazy or a genius, but I do think that he was smart did a good job surviving and doesn't deserve the scorn of this man.

Sadie CC
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Response to Nick Jans

Post  Lydia M. on Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:48 pm

I agree with some of the things Nick Jans said completely. I could not have said it better myself, because while Nick's opinion is blunt, he isn't trying to say that Chris was a bad person or anything like that. At the beggining of the book, I sympathized with Chris and understood his decisions such as wanting to get away from the reality in a sense and wanting to follow his passion, but getting farther and farther into reading the book I found myself hating him. I believe Chris was ignorant, stubborn and somewhat narcissistic. I think that Chris also thought he was somewhat invincible; like when people start smoking, and they are told by everyone to stop because they will get addicted fast and could end up dying, but they always think 'That stuff happens to other people, it will never happen to me.' I think that's exactly how Chris looked at his expedition, where others have failed, he would succeed. For someone with so much potential and such a bright future ahead of him, to throw it all away with a few simple mistakes, the book makes it obvious that Chris was neither smart nor wise. There are a few things I do not agree with in this statement though; it seems that Nick Jans didn't care that Chris died, because so many other young men do the same thing Chris did. I think that although Chris's death could have avoided it, its unfortunate that it had to end that way, and I feel for his family because no one deserves to die at such a young age. Hundreds of thousands of young people kill themselves each year but it doesn't mean that one persons death isn't as important as everyone else's because so many people do it, and I think it was a little rude of Nick to say that.

Lydia M.
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Response To Nick Jans

Post  Tommy J. on Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:08 pm

Although there is some truth in what Nick Jans said, I would have to disagree with him. I do no think that there is a certain category of people for Christopher McCandless to fit in to, as I think each and every individual that goes off in a search so desperate for something that they wind up in the barren, heartless Alaskan wilderness. Simply enough, I do not believe that Chris is a member of Nick Jans "collective cliche" that he seems to feel is for wackos that die lonely deaths due to their arrogance. I find it very disrespectful that Jans would say "I have no sympathy for him." It seems like Jans is the arrogant one, putting himself a tier above McCandless, and those slightly similar to him. McCandless, to me anyway, is not a crazy hippie with more than a few loose screws, but an inspirational person with an incredible mind, and some very thoughtful ideals. Chris McCandless did not die because of an idiocy that he had that comes packaged with people in his "collective cliche", he died, because like most very young adults, he did not think things through. Chris McCandless lived life on the edge, and although it resulted in a tragic death, I do not feel as though he lived wrongly, as it seems in that last photograph McCandless took, he seems oh so satisfied. Chris seems to have found what he was figuratively or possible literally looking for, which-after all- is that not everyone's goal in life? To be so supremely satisfied that the even the grim reality of death does not bother you? This in a nut shell is how I feel about what Nick Jans said, I say nut shell because I feel as if I could go on for a novel on why I firmly believe Nick is wrong.

Tommy J.
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Response to Nick Jans

Post  Ben P on Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:21 pm

I think that Nick Jans was right about Chris McCandles not being unique. I'm sure there have been many people who gone out there and done the same thing as him. Some have lived through it and some have died through it but what makes Chris McCandles story so interesting is the choices he made and the people he met. Something that I thought was interesting is how disrespectful Nick Jans was. Even though Chris McCandles story wasn't very unique not many people have the guts to do what he did. I think that this shows that we can't just focus on Chris though. We have to hear the other stories of people who actually survived doing something like this and get a better understanding of what was happening to them and how they felt going through all of this. One thing I do agree with is that Chris should not have left his parents the way he did. He did not know if he was going to survive and I wonder if he even thought of what kind of impact this would have on not just his parents but his friends too. So overall I think that Nick Jans had good points I just didn't like how he used them.

Ben P
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Re: Response to Nick Jans

Post  Caleb S on Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:38 pm

I totally understand the point that he is trying to get across. I can act just like him at times, but I see no point in his decision. Everyone does stupid things but not stuff that will 95% of the time end in death. Hearing what Chris McCandless did made it seem like he wanted to die. He would not get the proper equipment or a map. There was no plan of how he would survive he just made it up as he went along which is fine in some situations, but being in the cold Alaskan weather it is not. His ignorance caused his death and has only himself to blame. I could not see someone like that just give up everything especially when they have a lot. It is alright to have your own opinions and disagree with people, but McCandles was full on ignorant. He just had the mindset of great unique people like Michael Jordan. McCandles would always set high standards and want to achieve his goals. There is a time to listen to only you and there is a time to listen and take other people’s thoughts and ideas into consideration. If McCandles would have taken proper gear, a manual, and a map then he would have been fine. McCandles was smart but I don’t see how with is ignorance and only wanting to listen to himself. There was a bright future for him and he chose to be a fool with his decision. Many people would like to have the life he was having but apparently McCandless did not. I always take full advantage in my opportunities and never have any regret. I wonder if McCandless would have regret or if he would have been satisfied with death. I feel no sorrow for him and Nick Jans message was not harsh just the full truth and nothing more.

Caleb S
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Nick Jans Reply

Post  Kadin P on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:10 pm

I can not completely agree with this quote by Nick Jans, and I find it harsh and one sided. The only part that I agree with is that Chris McCandless was an idealistic and energetic young man. Nick talked about how Chris was off in his estimations of himself and the wild, however I think Chris was correct just not in the eyes of most. Chris was able to survive for months at a time with only a rifle and his recently learned knowledge of local plants. He was able to avoid deadly plants with almost no differences to similar non toxic species, so I would say Chris was able to estimate his abilities to survive every well. Chris also seem to very well know the deadly potentials of wilderness so he didn’t underestimated it. He knew of the animals, deadly plants, and unforgiving weather, he even mentioned in his letters that he very well knew that he may not make it out alive. Nick Jans also said that Chris McCandless was ignorant for not preparing better and that is what killed him, but I disagree. Chris would have benefited with maps and survival manuals, but he did not go in unprepared as he studied local plants and went in with a gun. Chris was killed by an undetectable fungal infection in some seeds he collected not by any ignorant actions. I also feel that Nick Jans should show sympathy for Chris if he died of accidental causes or his own because a death is not something you blow off, but grieve for. Nick Jans I felt was too harsh, Chris could have been better prepared but he did not go into the wild completely unknowledgeable.

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Re: Response to Nick Jans

Post  jordan-p on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:52 am

Bravo, I was really taken aback on how many people thought that Chris was a normal person. Nick Jans is one of the few people that makes since, because of his views of people that just pick up and go. He says that “ over the past 15 years, I've run into several McCandless types out in the country.” so he knows that Chris is nothing different and there in nothing new about his story. Just a young man who threw away his life, chasing some weird belief that he had to go out into the wild and desert his family and give them grief wondering if he is alive and okay. Even though Chris did some good things like giving money to charity and only using what he needed, he just left his education so he can just live in the wild. That's selfishness because not everyone can afford to get an education or have a nice family, those are luxuries that everyone can have and he just throws them away. And in the long run its a good thing that he died, because what if he did settle down long enough to get a family. Would he take them on his pointless journey through the wilderness too? Or would he just leave them confused and sad? That's why people should not be sad about him dying or worship the way he lived. The amount of jobs and things he could have done is endless and its just so stupid that someone would do that, to themselves and their family. He overestimated himself to the point that his idea was the only right one, and EVERYONE needed to follow his ideas. He thought he could just walk into the bush and all the bad things that happened before to other people would pass him by. He thought he would be invisible to all bad mistakes that other people made, and in the end his overconfidence led to his death and that's a good thing.

jordan-p
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Re: Response to Nick Jans

Post  Moia L. on Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:14 pm

I think this passage is a very different mindset than what the actually book is. All the people that Jon Krakauer interviews have many good things to say about Chris MacCandless, but this opinion obviously does not. Having a different opinion mixed into all the other slightly similar ones is very fresh and makes you think about all the sides of opinions people may have. I do agree that for every person that wants a semi normal life, including marriage and steady income there has to be at least one type of MacCandless. But I also think Chris was unique because of all the people he effected and made friends with. Many people grew close to him. He also gave most of his money to charity and I think that should be recognized. Everyone is unique and Chris is no exception. However I do not agree that his ignorance killed him. Yes, if he did bother to bring a map he would have had a more likely chance to come out alive, but there were other problems then not having a map. This opinion has many good, well said points but the delivery was not only rude but very insensitive. Let us not forget that MacCandless was a son, friend and brother too many people and to say these things without the slightest empathy for the family, other than saying three words on how he feels for the parents is just sick. Believe me, I agree with much that this person is saying about Chris but if I wanted to say anything like this I would have written or said it much different. Maybe it had to be said like that to get people’s attention and get people thinking about that side of the story but I’m not that kind of person and I wouldn't have said it like that.

Moia L.
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