who are the public and why are they wondering
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This really depends on which public you mean. Christopher McCandless aka Alexander Supertramp had reached a mythic status, especially after Jon Krakauer's book. Some people admired Chris's free spirit. Chris's counter-culture philosophy, to some, was refreshing. To others, familiar with the story, Chris's abandonment of his family was (and is) problematic. Any native Alaskan's found Chris naive if not irresponsible and stupid. They felt that his fate was inevitable considering his lack of knowledge and illusions about the wilderness.