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The Epic Journey of Chris McCandless

  • Leaving Home

    Leaving Home
    "No longer would he answer to Chris McCandless; he was now Alexander Super-tramp, master of his own destiny (23)". This is around the time where Chris McCandless decided to leave his home and start an adventure across the country. This starting point was significant to McCandless' journey because metaphorically it was a new beginning for Chris. He had changed his name and had gone off to start traveling across the country, shaping his new life as he went.
  • Jan Burres

    Jan Burres
    "He was a nice kid. Said his name was Alex. And he was big time hungry. But real happy (30)." Jan Burres had a very good impression on Chris. She was significant to the story because she was the first person that Chris had a serious connection with right off the bat. For the short time that they were together, they grew real close to each other. She was also significant to the story because Alex sent many postcards to her later on, and eventually meets up with her again.
  • Hithchiking

    "Then he resumed a life of constant motion, riding his thumb north and west through Red Bluff, Weaverville, and Willow Creek (30)." This experience of hitchhiking was on ongoing experience that took place throughout Chris' journey. Hitchhiking proved to be a very significant part to Chris' story because without it he would have not met the people he met. His trip would have been affected greatly had he chosen to drive himself to places rather than hitchhike.
  • Carthage

    "That fall he developed a lasting bond with the town... (18)". This stop is significant to the story because it is a time when Chris decides to settle down for a little while to see what the town had to offer. He ends up forming an irreversible connection with the town as he visits it again once more as a way to make more money to get to Alaska.
  • Wayne Westerberg

    Wayne Westerberg
    "McCandless stayed in touch with Westerberg as he roamed the West, calling or writing Carthage every month or two (19)." This stop is very significant to the story because it is the first major friendship that Chris has. While he is working in Carthage he forges a bond with Wayne that he did not have with his immediate family back home, which makes him very special to Chris as he sends him postcards after he leaves.
  • Canoeing down the Colorado River

    Canoeing down the Colorado River
    "He noticed a secondhand aluminum canoe for sale and on an impulse decided to buy it and paddle it down the Colorado River to the Gulf of California... (32)." Chris' experience of canoeing down the Colorado River serves a unique purpose to the story. It signifies how Chris acts largely on impulse even on big decisions such as this one. It also convinces him that he is ready for the Alaska bush because he survived on the river for 36 days on only five pounds of rice and marine life.
  • Bullhead City

    Bullhead City
    "McCandless took a strong liking to Bullhead...He simply fell in love with the stark desert landscape that encircles the town (39)". This stop is significant to the story because it is the first place where McCandless feels as if he could live, and for a while he does no travel anywhere else. He gets a job and starts to make a living for himself, and feels as if this could be where his adventure would end.
  • Slab City

    Slab City
    "The Slabs function as the seasonal capital of a teeming itinerant society comprising of the retired, the exiled, the destitute, the perpetually unemployed (43)." The Slabs served a different purpose in Chris' big journey. His visit to the Slabs let him taste freedom again since being cooped up in Bullhead city. It is significant to Chris' journey because it is where he becomes very talkative about traveling to Alaska. He starts training every morning for the harsh weather that was in Alaska.
  • Salton City

    Salton City
    "When he needed provisions he would hitch or walk the four miles into town... (49)." Salton City was a short stop for McCandless before he made his final stop before heading up to Alaska. It was significant to the story because it is where he met Ronald Franz. This is significant because we are provided insight on how quickly Chris can make an impression on a single person.
  • Ronald Franz

    Ronald Franz
    "I asked Alex if I could adopt him, if he could be my Grandson (55)." This interaction between Chris and a stranger plays a big role in the story. It shows how easy it was for someone to get attached to Alex just form a few short days of talking with him. It is significant to the rest of the story because it provides insight on how easy going Chris was and how he could build relationships with other people easily.
  • Back in Carthage

    Back in Carthage
    "Seven months earlier, on a frosty March afternoon, McCandless had ambled into the office at the Carthage grain elevator and announced that he was ready to go to work (62)." This was Chris' last major stop before heading up to Alaska. It was significant to the story because in a way this was him tying up the last of the loose ends with people that he met along his journey. When he was leaving Carthage, he was crying which was unsettling because it was as if he knew he would never see them again.
  • Mary Westerberg

    Mary Westerberg
    "They hit it off immediately. The two of 'em talked nonstop for five hours (67)." During Chris' journey he starts talking to Wayne's Mom for the first time and they talked about anything and everything. This is significant to the story because it gives insight on what kind of person Alex is. We can infer from his conversation with Mary that he is a very talkative person and is easy to talk to.
  • Jim Gallien

    Jim Gallien
    "Gallien thought the hitchhiker's scheme was foolhardy and repeatedly tried to dissuade him (5)." This took place right before Chris adventured into the wilderness. This interaction between Gallien and Chris is significant because gives some insight on some of Chris' views. We can deduct from their conversations that Chris does not feel that he needs to adhere to any governmental rule.
  • Hiking the Stampede Trail

    Hiking the Stampede Trail
    "I am reborn. This is my dawn (168)." This event dwarfs all other events in Chris' mind. He feels as if he was reborn in the Alaskan bush and is ready to go back to civilization. This hike is significant to Chris' journey because during the hike he ponders many challenging questions in his mind. If he had made it out of the Alaskan Bush, he even considered forgiving his parents.
  • Death- The Stampede Trail

    Death- The Stampede Trail
    "Extremely Weak, fault of Potato seed. Much trouble just to stand up. Starving. Great jeopardy (189)." This is the end of Chris' journey and is the resting place of Chris. It is very significant to the story because even though it was the ending of Chris' journey, it was not the end of his impact on people. Because of his death being near a bigger structure, this structure has become a landmark for people all around the world to come see and revisit their toughest questions.