Alexander Supertramp: A Character Analysis

Chris McCandless invented the character Alexander Supertramp to embody the primitive freedom that comes with true self-reliance and a symbol of rebelliousness from society. For all of his life, he has witnessed his parents abandon their values in exchange for physical materials in their toxic relationship. Soon to become a law student, Chris was a man stuck in the system of human and environmental exploitation that his materialistic society endorsed. He was deprived of the very thing he has yearned for: true freedom. As Alexander Supertramp, he set out to live his life deliberately, to live with only the essential facts of life, as seen through his insistence to hitchhike across the country through the wilderness with nothing but a tent and a notebook. Only then did he state that he was “no longer poisoned by the civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild.” To him, the wilderness represented the true freedom and self-reliance that he valued. Throughout the movie, we see Chris’s disgust at mankind’s stubborn attempts to place rules and control over anything and everything. For example, Chris was aghast to discover that there was a 12 year waitlist to paddle down a river. He retaliated to this absurdity, which he viewed as an infringement to man’s primal freedom, by ignoring all regulations. Similar to Thoreau, Chris was not going to contribute to the society that stripped him of his natural freedom to enjoy the wilderness. His willingness to fight for something he believes in demonstrates that he was a transcendentalist at heart. He passed on his values to Kristen Stewart’s character, remarking that “When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.”


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