Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 26

for we have no news of Christopher McCandless being a writer himself. All his journals, diaries and notes prior to his walk into the wild are only available through Krakauer, who administers them very sparingly in his biography, and although Back to the Wild is publicized as containing “pictures” and “writings” from Christopher McCandless, all it offers, besides the transcription of a few postcards, are captions written by his father and sprinkled with quotes from other authors. If we are to judge by the few released paragraphs of the adventures of Alexander Supertramp written by himself in the third person as they appear in Into the Wild, there is no doubt that Christopher McCandless had quite a way to go before considering himself a writer; the meager output from his Alaskan adventure may even suggest that he was already losing interest. As to Carine McCandless being a writer herself, opinions might be divided, for a simple memoir might not be enough to claim literary status, and naturally, the question remains whereas The Wild Truth would even have been published at all if her brother’s misadventure had not been previously successfully fictionalized, both in writing and on the screen.   That his family would be so hard at work to preserve the memory of Christopher McCandless is not the least ironic aspect of the entire affair: if nothing else, the story of Chris McCandless is that of a rebellion against a familiar environment and it is now precisely those against whom he rebelled in the first place who are the most interested in remembering his rebellion. This might simply be because McCandless’ rebellion was never much more than just the spectacle of a rebellion. The Business of McCandless Krakauer’s book has been adopted in many high-schools as required reading and the Internet is flooded with papers and essays from students and admirers, most of which have in common a deep emotional involvement with the subject and a lack of substance in their development, for, so far, no one has been able to clearly explain the significance of Christopher McCandless’ legacy. Nonetheless, this has not prevented hundreds of fans from undertaking the perilous trek to the bus over the years, many of them becoming stranded along the way, often while attempting to cross the Teklanika, the very same river that stranded Christopher McCandless. Although the exact number of casualties directly related to the McCandless phenomenon remains unknown, the case of Claire Ackerman, a 29-year-old Swiss woman who drowned in the Teklanika on her way to the bus with her boyfriend in 2010, is most likely not an isolated incident: in 2013 alone, a dozen people were reported “lost, hurt or stranded by the rising 26