how did the people who came in contact with chris during his travels describe him
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In these opening chapters, Krakauer shows us many people who get along well with McCandless, and who have strongly positive things to say about him, even if they only spent a few hours driving him somewhere. Often, these people doubt him at first, assuming, based on his looks, hygiene, or Alaskan plans that he is foolish, uneducated, or some equivalent, but he is able to change people’s minds about him very quickly. Thus, according to Krakauer’s characterization, although McCandless certainly is flawed, and makes some mistakes that end in his death, the common belief that he is naïve and arrogant is shown to be, if not completely wrong, at least an unfair oversimplification.
McCandless has a few key characteristics that often change people’s minds about him quickly. He is obviously intelligent and well-educated, and his passion for and intensity regarding his lifestyle and his forthcoming Alaska trip make it clear that he is not just following a whim. He is also incredibly hard-working, and even when he is not the most skilled, he proves himself a valuable employee to whoever hires him, willing to do any task, no matter how unpleasant or menial. His insistence on living by his beliefs and morals makes him stand out even more.
McCandless is, however, also very stubborn, as it quickly becomes clear in these opening chapters. Although he always pushes himself to work very hard and do the best job he can, he does not respond well to any criticism, or to any exhibition of authority at all. His stubbornness leads him to refuse any help from Jim Gallien, who goes so far as to offer to drive him far out of his way to buy him better equipment for his Alaskan trip. It also leads him to ignore any advice he gets, even from those with much more experience, if it would mean he would have to alter his Alaskan plans at all.