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Mere pride or adolescent stupidity seems like an incomplete answer.Another interpretation of hamartia presents it less as a character flaw than a misunderstanding of one’s place in the world.
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Whether he was a vagabond, genius, whack job, free spirit, rebel, or poet, Christopher Mc Candless (also known by the pseudonym Alexander Supertramp) was unique among men.
Along the way, Mc Candless gravitates toward substitute fathers including Wayne Westerberg and Ronald Franz (and one substitute mother, Jan Burres).
Materialism Christopher Mc Candless denounces and rejects what he sees as American materialism, in general when he leaves his parents and the upper middle-class suburban setting in which they raised him, and very specifically and concretely when he donates all his savings to charity, abandons his car in the desert, and actually burns his paper money on the desert floor.
It is an impossible question to answer no matter how earnestly Krakauer pursues it.
Krakauer acknowledges his own obsession in the introduction, and his crafting of the story raises its own questions.Yet the real test of his status as a tragic hero is his embodiment of a trait the Greeks called .Since it is a translated term, its exact meaning is often debated but can generally be interpreted as “tragic flaw,” a trait that blindsides the hero and leads him to his own ruin.If there is a single turning point in the life of Christopher Mc Candless, it may be the discovery that his father had a second, secret family.This revelation seems to inspire him to reject his parents completely and commence an odyssey into wild America.In this light, hamartia seems to fit Chris Mc Candless quite well.The rich kid who leaves the material world, his family, and his identity behind to pursue enlightenment in the natural landscape seems the very definition of someone looking for his place.Survival in the wilderness This is the central theme of the work of one of Christopher Mc Candless's favorite authors, Jack London.The most striking example of this is probably London's short story "To Build a Fire," about a man who freezes to death in the woods because of his inability to do precisely that.All tragedies center on a hero, so in order to determine whether Chris Mc Candless has been transformed into one in Krakauer’s book, Mc Candless’s resemblance to a tragic hero must be established in specific terms.In the Greek model, tragic heroes usually come from noble families.