What kind of person was Chris McCandless, and what was he trying to do?
Before you begin writing, read the passage carefully and plan what you will say. Your essay should be as well organized and carefully written as you can make it.
Jon Krakauer writes:
McCandless didn’t conform particularly well to the bush-casualty stereotype. Although he was rash, untutored in the ways of the backcountry, and incautious to the point of foolhardiness, he wasn’t incompetent—he wouldn’t have lasted 113 days if he were. And he wasn’t a nutcase, he wasn’t a
sociopath, he wasn’t an outcast. McCandless was something else—although precisely what is hard to say. A pilgrim, perhaps. (85)
What was Chris McCandless seeking in the wilderness? Do you think he found it before he died? Considering these questions and Krakauer’s statement, write an essay in which you define who Chris McCandless was and explain what he was trying to do. Support your conclusions with evidence from your notes and your reading of the text.
1. Read and then reread the prompt. Underline the important verbs that tell you what action to perform. For example, the verbs “define,” “explain,” and
“support” are in the above prompt.
2. Identify and explain the argument in the passage.
This writer thinks that McCandless wasn’t incompetent or crazy because he survived for 113 days.
3. Brainstorm ideas that come to mind. Do you agree or disagree with the author’s basic position?
4. Figure out the topics and topic sentences of your body paragraphs, and create an outline (roadmap).
5. For your rough draft, don’t worry about a smooth introduction if nothing comes to mind; begin
with your point, your thesis. You can revise it before your final draft.