Captain Nemo


Photograph of Everett Reuss 

Of the other explores/adventurers/escapists/kids/etc. that we read about for class today, who struck you as having the most interesting, compelling, or even admirable story?  What details about this person’s story make you feel this way?  Also, in what way can you relate this person or his adventures/dreams to Christopher McCandless?  In what ways are are they different?  You may need to look up additional information about the person you chose to write about, but this should be very easily accomplished through a quick Google search.



  1. Allen Perry said,

    March 24, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    The story that attracts me the most is the story of Gene Rosellini. Rosellini was a very interesting man who believed many ideas that most would think is crazy but somehow his ideas made a lot of sense. His idea of school really caught my attention. He believed that a degree had no value to him because he felt his pursuit of knowledge had no external validation. His lack of dependency for from technology contradicts mine because I believe that in a few years the world will become completely dependent on technology. His story sort of relates to the Chris story because they both were trying to leave everything behind to start something new. The difference is Rossellini was out trying to prove something and Chris seems like he was not trying to prove anything, like he just wanted to do something he always dreamed about.

    Allen Perry

  2. Dustin Carter said,

    March 24, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    John Mallon Waterman struck me as having a very interesting story. He started going camping at a young age with his father, which made him a very good climber. I relate this mans story to Christopher McCandless story for the simple fact that he went on to do something to push himself to the edge like McCandless did, Althought McCandless took his by going to Alaska to survive of of the land this man decided to climb a mountain with little gear. This to me seems like a suicide mission, which it did turn out to be, for the both of them. It seems that both of them were in it for the thrill and they both got themselves into something more then they had bargained for. They are different because Waterman was doing something he loved and not just on some journey to see if you can live off of the land like McCandless did.

    Dustin Carter

  3. bailey knott said,

    March 24, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    I thought that Rossellini’s story was the most daring and interesting. Unlike Chris McCanless, Rosellini went out into the wilderness actually trying to accomplish something. He was doing an experiment, he was very smart and he went prepared. He survived in the wild for like 10 years and tried living life in many different ways just to see if he could do it. And he was able to accomplish something, even if the only thing he accomplished was learning that what he really wanted to do was impossible. Chris McCanless on the other hand, just up and left everything he knew to go live in the wild. For what? We never will find out, so to me that just seems like he was just asking to die. So I really thought that there weren’t too many similarities but quite a few differences in the two stories. Also that Rosellini although he killed himself at least he accomplished something in his life that can help other people wondering the same things he was.

    Yes, it’s very true. Despite the fact that he ultimately kills himself, for perhaps what he feels to be a failed life, he really did accomplish something important–the contribution of which would have been helpful to someone like Chris, if he had bothered to study some of these other survivalists. But I too found Rosellini to be the most interesting. You simply have to give the guy credit for a decade long experiment.

  4. Mayra Garcia said,

    March 24, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    I think that Rosellini had the most admirable story. Because this man is trying to make a point that humans cannot just live of the land. That we are too used to all kinds of technology we have now that it would be hard to go back and just live off the land. How he goes about doing things like hunting, we he lives, the way he dresses and everything to make it feel much realistic to like Roman times, Ice Age, and the Iron Age. He and Christopher Mccandless are alike in the sense that they were both very bright men yet they wanted to get away from society. They both wanted to wander into an adventure to prove something and find themselves. The difference is that Rossellini proved that people could not live just off the land and still he commits suicide by stabbing himself. And Christopher McCandless wanted help at the end he really thought that someone was coming to get him and safe him.

  5. Linda Felbaum said,

    March 24, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    One of the adventurers that stick out in my mind is Everett Reuss. He left home at a very young age to explore the beauty in the world. Everett saw the land in a very romantic way. Shortly after getting his high school diploma, he went out west to the Arizona, Utah and Mexico area. He had a dream of himself climbing the ledges of cliffs. This inspired him to go on his adventures for months, and even years at a time. I feel that he is a lot like Chris Mccandless in the aspect of his desire to escape human contact. They both yearned to be in a place where it was only them and nature. Their survival was based solely on their own abilities.
    I believe that Everett Reuss had done a better job at journaling his adventures. There is more information about the things that he accomplished and places that he visited. Both Everett and Chris changed their names. While Chris only did this once, and inconsistently, Everett changed his name many times. He would write his parents and let them know that he wanted to be called by these different names. What I found interesting about one of the names that he chose, is that he changed it because other people did not like it. I felt this was odd, only because he really didn’t seem like he cared too much about what people thought. Chris Mccandless was not interested in what anyone had to say about his name or the lifestyle that he chose.
    I think the main comparison would be that they both died at such an early age. They both were successful in their adventures enough to convince them to take more risks, and I believe that this was the true end to them both.

  6. Alex Seburn said,

    March 24, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    I think the most interesting of the other explorers was McCunn. He was the genius that decided to throw his bullets into the lake, because he thought he had too many. That of course, turned out to be insignificant. I thought he stood out because he was a guy who liked to party a lot and try to get women to travel with him. He was the guy that really appreciated the beauty of the nature. I thought his fate was tied to his overly optimistic views. Its good to be positive, but I thought he was not much of a realistic thinker. The book described him as a big dreamer. Even as optimistic as he was, he still had the sense to get someone to fly a helicopter to pick him back up when he was ready. The main reason I found him interesting was because he was so close to not dying. The reason he died was because of an incorrect hand signal. If he would have known the correct hand signals or at least looked like he was panicking , he would have lived. Of course this guy ended up getting really bad frostbite and eventually shot himself in the head.

  7. Dustin Melton said,

    March 24, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Everett Ruess or (Captain Nemo), as he called himself, struck me as a very interesting person to look into and gather more information about. He was a person that liked to adventure out beyond where anyone else wanted to go. Reuss admits he occasionally misses the company of his people, but indicates that most of humanity is too unintelligent to converse with anyway. The way he has a strong emotion to stay in the wilderness and out of the city is just a very cool way of thinking. He is very interesting to me because noone knows where he is at the end of the chapter. Only engravings on rocks he has left behind to show he has been there gives me the idea that he wanted people to know of all the incredible feats he has surpassed, but doesn’t want to be recognized in person for them. After fifty years people still wonder where he is! Some believe him to be living on an indian reservation in Arizona or New Mexico following his dreams. I can relate to him in a few definite ways. I love to do things that people think are unusual. I would love to go scale a mountian just to say that I have done it and leave my name behind. I see many qualities that we would share. Another would be venturing out and getting out of everyday culture where it is busy and everyone is ruching around like chickens with their heads cut off. In many ways Everett has done alot of things that I would love to do, but he wandered out and took the challenge,which I couldn’t very easily do.

    Dustin Melton

  8. Charles Thornton said,

    March 24, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Captain Nemo
    I thought that Everett Ruess was one of the best stories that we have read so far, but my admiration has to go with Gene Rosellini. This man took on an adventure with a plan before he started. He had thought how he would survive, what things he would use, where he would go, and when he would start. The reason you can assume this is, he did research on the different styles of history, as stated on page 74 “ He was experimenting with different ears- Roman times ,the Iron Age, the Bronze Age.” You would have to have a large amount of endurance to take on a task of this magnitude, and it seems that he did very well. People had nothing bad to say, every one seamed to know him what he was doing. It didn’t see that he wonted to be a recluse he just wonted to do a test of man against nature in. It was a shame that he ended his life in the way he did, he may have been able to relay some interesting stories.
    Charles Thornton
    English 1101

    Yes! I’m glad that you wrote about Rosellini. I too found him the most fascinating. And you absolutely must respect a guy that actually spent 10 true years trying to live by this Stone Age code, while also having the fortitude in the end to say that it’s just simply not possible. While his death was troubling, and perhaps he saw his quest ultimately as a failure, it gives us a picture of a man that really is a foil for Chris.

  9. Amy Thornton said,

    March 24, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Captain Nemo

    There are many explorers throughout history that have set out to prove something to them or to society. Most were well prepared and equipped for the challenge; adventurists, explorers, and dreamers. Some might be offended with comparing them to Chris McCandless with his caviler attitude toward nature. In the book Into The Wild, John Watermans adventures are quite bizarre yet have similarities to Chris McCandless. They were both young men with a desire to explore the unknown, to rid themselves of modern day conveniences. Both men conveyed questions regarding their mental facilities with the careless risks they took on their journey.

    I am unsure if Chris McCandless had some diminished reasoning abilities in the end possibly due to food poisoning or starvation. We are told Waterman was crazy, even when he decided to leave his radio which was essential for his survival. I believe both men never intended to leave their adventure alive, both wanted to die a martyr for their cause. Perhaps they share some aspect in their youth that planted a seed that lead to the final journey. We can say both men stayed true to their values and stood strong in the fight against a nature that was brutal and fierce. In the end they reached their goals.

    Amy Thornton

    You bring up two interesting points. First, did both men want to die, or were willing to die? And, there is a strange, lingering question mark about how Chris really did die. And the more we read about the “injury” and the problems of why he stayed in the bus etc., one has to entertain the possibility that he could have been poisoned by something.

  10. Casey Willis said,

    March 24, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    I would have to say that Everett Ruess was the most interesting, adventurous and just a wild passion for the country for which he set out in. Every adventure he went on he dreamed at one point or another. He was so young when he went on his first mountain climb; he knew what he wanted to do and did it. He loved nature and couldn’t be any happier anywhere else. Ruess and McCandles were romantics about being out in the wild, out on there own and trying to find them selves. They were both undeterred by the physical discomfort and most of the time welcomed it and, they both went through the faze of changing their names. Ruess just a couple times more than McClandles. Ruess would leave the name Nemo on a rock or side of a cliff for people to see. McCandles would send letters to people to let them know where he was in his journey and, how he was doing

    Casey Willis
    CRN 1736

  11. Jonathan Miles said,

    March 24, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    There are many differences between Chris McCandless’ journey into the wilderness of Alaska and Carl McCunn’s adventure. For one thing, McCunn was a lot more prepared for the climate and the conditions that the Alaskan wilderness would present. He packed plenty of firearms and ammunition, food and other supplies. At one point, McCunn actually threw some of his ammo into the lake because he was tired of carrying it. If McCandless had brought that much extra ammunition, he probably would have buried it. Also, McCunn wasn’t taking this trip for an ideological purpose. I think he was just going to camp for a little while to take some pictures of the wilderness. McCandless on the other hand was trying to live out his Jack London fantasy.
    McCandless and McCunn also had a lot of things in common. Like McCandless, McCunn had a false sense of security. They both always thought in the back of their minds that someone would eventually come save them. Unfortunately, that was not the case. McCunn, like McCandless was an adventurous person but without the ideology. I’m not going to say that McCunn was dumb or an idiot, but he forgot one of the most important parts of planning the trip; how he was going to get back out. Neither McCunn nor McCandless gave a whloe lot of thought to their exit strategy and they both paid the ultimate price. They both became to sick or tired to even try making it out. It makes you wonder if they both had the same thoughts passing through their minds during those last precious days of life.

    Jonathan Miles
    CRN #1736

    It’s a very interesting (albeit philosphical) question to ask regarding the last thoughts. Regardless of their differences, coming to the face of death because of, perhaps we all think similar things.

  12. Ester Maxwell said,

    March 24, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Everett Ruess was the one that interest me the most. He kept a very good log book on his activities and this made me think that he was in his right mind when he set off on his adventurers. He was looking for the wilderness to give him some sense of belonging and he knew what he had to do in order to get that feeling. He would eat food from the land and some made him sick or even made him feel that it could be his last meal. To me Ruess didn’t just go out in the wilderness with blinders on he had some thought that went into his adventure. As, for Christopher McCandless he just jumped out there and didn’t think about the consequences. He didn’t even care to even take a hint from the people that he met during his journey. Where as Ruess took risk with his life, McCandless didn’t do those types of things nor come a cross and dangerous animals. McCandless just want to go and do the unthinkable with no thought about anyone other than his self. Both of them wanted to be someone that did the impossible and be able to talk about it. But neither returned to the human race to every tell their true story or their adventure of the wilderness

    Ester Maxwell
    English 1101
    Class 1736

  13. Natalia Gaviria said,

    March 24, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    One of the explorers/adventurers that caught my attention was Everett Ruess,his inexplicable desire to follow this dream of exploring the beauty of the wilderness also slowly took him to his death. Both Ruess and Mccandless were at a young age and both had this sudden dream of exploring places where they would find themselves isolated from everyone else as if they were looking for a significant meaning about something or themselves. Ruess impressed me with the way that he did not fear the danger of being exposed to the danger. He was stung by wild bees and didn’t recover for about three or four days, also suffering from posion ivy for days. Mccandless and Ruess were both intelligent and capable of researching or getting more well prepared for this life threatening adventures, but no they lacked a sense of reality and thought that they would follow these explorations with the surreal thinking that they would get through it somehow. Both Mccandless and Ruess changed their names to avoid anyone knowing their background information or try to contact their relatives for any reason. Ruess in particular carved his nickname Nemo on a stone, probably as a piece of information for someone to be able to track back his path to figure out his death just in case something would happen to him.
    Letters were written by Ruess to his brother about his explorations; on the other hand, Mccandless wrote to those that helped him on his path to his wild adventures. Mccandless was found dead in the cold isolated bus, while Ruess was never found and it was hypothesized that he fell while climbing a canyon. They both wanted to follow their dreams and definitely tried to the point that drove them to their death.

    Natalia Gaviria
    CRN 1736

  14. Hilary Bragg said,

    March 25, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Rosellini tried to be different. In fact he was different, because he tried to go through life without using modern technology and without conforming to society. Instead of living in a house and going out to dinner or even preparing dinner, he lived in the wilderness often without food. The stone age had a big influence on him and impowered him to attpempt to live life without the basic things that we use everyday. In society today, we are constantly depending on others to help us, many people dont even cook dinner all the time and depend on others to serve and cook for them at restaurants. Every day I depend on others, for examply, I know that I eat out at least 3 times a week. Also, I depend on my family to do specific things for me such as start laundry, move something for me, etc.
    Can you imagine not having a computer or a cell phone? For some this may not be a challenge because they were not rasied to use these things, but for many it is an every day act to use a cell phone, tv, computer, microwave. These are all things that Rosellini gave up on his attempt to “live” in the stone age. WE have become so spoiled that we take advantage of these things. I know personally that there have been times that my cable goes out and I catch myself complaining and whining about it. I could easily pick up a book and read, or help my mother with dinner, but instead I have become so used to the idea of having tv that I’m spoiled. He wanted to live like they did when forebearers and saber-toothed tigers. I admire this in Rosellini but I don’t admire the fact that he let it get so out of hand that he died. I myself, would like to be less consumed with technology and more consumed with education and finding out who I am. In a way that is what Rosellini was doing, but instead he found himself dead.

  15. Emily Noordhoek said,

    March 25, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    I think that Everett Ruess has the most compelling story of all of the people compared to Chris McCandless in this book. The book states that, “Sixty years later we still know next to nothing about what became of him.” Alex’s body was actually found and they believe he died of starvation. It is scary to think that Ruess actually just disappeared. Ruess’ story has a huge similarity to Chris’ that I believe is so important. His story really amazed me because two men who never met each other had the same dreams, ambitions, and ideas. Ruess adopted a new name for himself three times and finally came up with the nickname, “Nemo.” Chris considered himself to be, “Alex.” These two men both came up with new names for themselves as if they were going to live different lifestyles as a new person.
    Both men were really well educated and came from good families. It is hard to understand why someone coming from a pretty good background would want to go out into the wild and never speak to their family. The book also says, “Ruess would spend the remainder of his meteoric life on the move, living out of a backpack on very little money, sleeping in the dirt, cheerfully going hungry for days at a time.” This is exactly the life that Chris lived, except when Chris started going hungry, he panicked. Ruess story is also different in that it was said that he actually married a Navajo woman and had a child. Chris’ last worry was being interested in a woman and having a family of his own. There was a time in the book when a girl had a crush on him and he never really acknowledged her. Another difference is that Alex’s body was found and the death was determined by starvation. Ruess’ body was never found and they do not know what became of him. There were many rumors and stories of how people thought he died. Alex’s death was well known.
    It seems that both men wanted to be around people and have that companionship with people, but they couldn’t stand to be around people very long. Both men also followed their dreams and didn’t give up. Their journey’s through life made an impact on a lot of different people and thats what makes them so important and well-known.

  16. Robert Epps said,

    March 25, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    I found the story of Everett Ruess to be the most interesting (I found their stories, including Chris’, to be as far from inspiring as possible). Ruess’ story is interest because of the many similarities and parallels it draws to the story of Chris, even though Ruess died close to half a century prior to McCandless. Their ideals, recklessness, and even lifestyles in many aspects were very similar to each other.

    Ruess, like McCandless, took a summer trip on his own one year while still living at home that ultimately inspired him to go out on his own permanently. They both seemed to come from very loving families but Chris seemed to resent his far more than Ruess did.

    They both seemed to having a sort of dreamy idea of how the world should be and how people should live and decided to live that way. Ruess was described as heedless of personal safety. The book says that he would cheerfully go hungry for days at a time and wrote letters damning the stereotypes of civilization. All of this leads me to believe that he and Chris, whose story is eerily similar, had some sort of mental disconnection or illness. Neither of them seemed to have any respect for the world they lived in and the dangers it presented and focused solely on their unrealistic, dreamy ideas of what life should be like.

    Everett Ruess read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea many times. He began calling himself Nemo, among other names, just as Chris changed his name to Alex, which is the name of the main character of the book. It seems that Reuss may have been trying to model his life after the fictional Captain Nemo which suggests that he had a hard time separation fantasy from reality and took the fictional works and ideals represented in them to seriously. Chris was very similar in this aspect, modeling his life after the fictional works of various authors. In all, Ruess seems to have been an earlier version of Chris McCandless, and an earlier representation of whichever mental disorder they both most likely had.
    Robert Epps, 1718

    I like how you use the word “dreamy” describe their way of looking at the world. It does seem to exist outside of the foundations of reality and common sense, at least to most of us who may not have as dreamy of a picture of the world.

  17. Madison Davis said,

    March 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    While reading Into the Wild, the story of Everett Ruess very compelling. Carved into a stone slab was “NEMO 1934”. Months later, more “NEMO” scripts were found on various areas of Davis Gulch. The only trace of Ruess found was two burros. His camping equipment, journals, and paintings were never found. The death of Ruess is debatable. Some believe he fell to his death between canyons, while others argue he was murdered, robbed of his belongings, and buried or thrown into the Colorado River. Ruess’ father suggested that the boy had most likely been inspired to call himself Nemo from Jules Verne’s book, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. Everett had read the book many times. In the story, Captain Nemo deserts civilization. It was stated that Everett also had “withdrawl from organized society, his disdain for worldly pleasures, and his signatures as NEMO in Davis Gulch, all strongly suggest that he closely identified with the Jules Verne character.” It is speculated that Everett could have left Davis Gulch, resides at a new residence, and has created a new identity. Some believed they had seen Ruess in the late 1960’s at a Navajo Indian Reservation. He was now married to a Navajo woman and had one child. Waldo, Everett’s brother believes he was murdered. Sleight, a professional river guide, disagrees and claims to have talked to the individuals accused of killing Ruess and he believes they did not do it. Others believe he fell off of a cliff. Other’s say he drowned. “Everett was strange,” states Sleight, “Kind of different. But him and McCandless, at least they tried to follow their dream. That’s what was great about them. They tried. Not many do.”

    Rues and McCandless have striking similarities. Both are disconnected from reality. They have free spirits and do not identify well with civilization. Both men construct their identity from novels they have read. They also share the characteristic of creating alter egos. Everett goes by Nemo, while Chris creates the name Alex.

    The differences between the two men’s stories are that Everett was never found, nor were his belongings. McCandless’ body and everything he owned was discovered. The story of his disappearance was not debatable, as Ruess’ was.

    Both men had a desire to be free, which in turn led to their death. The where-about of Everett Ruess remain unsolved, but the fact is, like Chris McCandless, who he once was is gone forever.

    Very good job picking up on the fact that both men “construct their identities” from novels.

  18. Noemi Najera said,

    March 25, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    The character who struck me as having an interesting, compelling or admirable story was John Mallon Waterman. Although, his story was with less attention it compelled me. John was raised in the suburbs as John McCandless. John’s father had three sons whom he taught to climb mountains. John had his first experience at age thirteen. By 1973, John had a reputation of a promising young alpinist in North America.
    John’s parents divorced when he was ten and his father abandoned his sons and this crippled John. In 1979, he flew to Kahitlna Glacier to begin the ascent, but then in fourteen days called it off and John told the pilot he did not want to die. Later in two months he prepared for a second attempt. The cabin John was staying caught on fire and all his equipment and notes and personal journals had burned. He was completely unhelmed by the loss and committed himself to Anchorage Psychiatric Institute. Then in two weeks he was convinced there was a conspiracy to put him away permanently and left the institution.
    I see some comparison with Chris McCandles, where both of their father’s were not there for them. Both had a good education and had this idealistic of the world. I believe that both kids felt they needed to prove to their father’s they did not need them and to prove to themselves the same. Both Waterman and McCandless had a sort of an imagination of instability. As if they were not rational with their decisions that they would make at a moment. And at times, as if they knew they had to back track themselves and try again; And by being in a way stubborn to them ended up dead. This is my comparison on both Waterman and McCandless ending up dead by wanting to prove something that was not there to prove.

    Noemi Najera
    CRN 1718

    You bring up a very good point: that both Waterman and McCandless had very similar backgrounds, and how this may have contributed to their need to escape society or even their ultimate death.

  19. Brandon Richardson said,

    March 25, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    The story of Gene Rosellini would have to be the most interesting story. It just amazes me that such a brilliant man would devote over thirty years of his life to try and see if humans of today could survive in the times of the Romans or live life as they did in the Bronze Age. I don’t see why someone would want to do something like that, we live life in the ways that we were brought in. it would almost be like asking someone from the Iron Age to live life the way we do, it is just not meant to be. We work hard as humans to advance in the world not to step back to primitive times and live life in the dark, but I guess this is why this story struck me as so honorable. It took a lot for this man to do what he did for thirty years. It showed me for one just how far we have come over the past centuries as humans. I see Gene Rosellini and Christopher McCandless as being two people with the same mentality toward society, being said yet very different in the since that Gene Rosellini was going into the wild not in an unprepared kind of way but to do independent study on the way humans today survive. Christopher McCandless went off into the wild with hardly any prior knowledge and very poor planning. He gave all his money away and left most of his belongings, and really I think he was trying to prove to himself and everyone else that he could survive. They both had the same ambition I think, they both wanted to prove to themselves that they could survive with out anyone’s help. But in the end they both failed themselves.

  20. Dawn Vickers said,

    March 25, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    I think that the story about Carl McCunn is the one that interested me the most. I am not really sure why but I think it has to do with, even though he did something crazy he seemed to be the one with the best mind. He knew he wanted to go into the wild and take pictures but he didn’t have it in his head that he wouldn’t have a return to society. He took enough shotgun shells to live for a while and he had enough food for the amount of time that he was planning on staying. Carl seemed to have a plan on what he wanted to do and how long. He just didn’t think far enough ahead for somebody to come get him out. In my opinion he did all the planning and just didn’t think about what he would need to end the trip.
    Some ways that Carl McCunn is like Chris McCandless is that they are dreamers and seem to count on other people to help them get out of trouble. They are also both inexperienced campers and did not grow up living the life off the land. The way the that they are different is that Carl seemed to dream of having a relationship with people and seemed to have some common sense about what he was doing while living in Alaska. Chris went into the wild with very little supplies and I would think no planning for what he was getting into. Carl on the other hand had all the supplies he needed for the amount of time that he had planned on being there and it seems he knew what information he needed for living.
    It seems to me that Carl McCunn was going into Alaska to enjoy it and learn a little about the wildlife. He just didn’t plan his leaving very well. Chris McCandless went into Alaska to get away from something or somebody and didn’t have much of a plan. I am not sure he even planned on ever leaving Alaska. Chris didn’t seem like he was a happy man.

    Dawn Vickers
    CRN 1718

    Yes, it’s very interesting Dawn. It almost seems like Car McCunn, out of everyone we have encountered, really did die from an “innocent” mistake, unlike many of the others that had some breaks with sense.

  21. Samantha Willis said,

    March 25, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Everett Ruess has the most interesting story of all the others mentioned in Into the Wild. Reuss seemed to be in love with the earth. His dreams were to live solo in the wilderness. He wanted to be alone traveling on the trail. He had many adventures and saw a lot of things. He seemed to be dissatisfied with a normal existence. Reuss believed that alone, by himself he could live his life more abundantly. Although it seems foolish, you have to admire the fact that the men wanted to just leave their lives and all their problems for a more satisfying one.
    Ruess is a lot like McCandless. Both men left everything they knew for life on the frontier. They both seemed to be fooled by the earths beauty. They both seemed to believe that the wilderness is what they needed to better their lives. Both McCandless and Reuss were romantics who were blindsighted.
    The men are also alike because they seemed to welcome physical discomfort . Reuss had a case of poison oak, but it didn’t bother him. He seemed to welcome the fact that his suffering were far from over. He stated that there were days he didn’t know if he was dead or alive because of all the bugs crawling on him and the poison oozing out of him. Although he became miserable he stayed there. McCandless knew he was going to starve on the alaskan frontier, all he had was a bag of rice. However, that didn’t change his mind about wanting to live alone.
    Both men also changed their name. McCandless changed his to Alex. Maybe this was to prevent anyone from finding him. Everett changed his name many times. Once to Lan Rameau, then to Evert Rulan, then to Nemo. Years later people found Nemo incribed in canyons where Everett was. Just like people found McCandless/Supertramp writtem where McCandless was found.
    However, some things are different between McCandless and Reuss. Reuss wrote letters to his family. He also interacted with a few people. McCandless left his family without contacting them at all. Reuss wanted a life on the trail around Arizona not one on the freezing a laskan frontier.
    The two men are a lot alike but different. Both men were in love with nature and thought they could endure it. Both men died trying to live their dream and adventure.One man thought he could survive the wilderness on the trail, the other thought he could live in the freezing harshness of the alaskan frontier. What connects them however, is their dreams.

  22. Sara Garmon said,

    March 25, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Of all the other explores that we have read about in this story the one that interested me the most was Gene Rosellini. I believed that he had the most compelling story of all the other vagabonds. I think there is a great importance in what Rosellini tried to accomplish living life on his own in the wild. I also think his story has an insurmountable importance in this book about what he had discovered at the end of his life and the conclusion that he found to be true. Rosellini had many similarities and differences from Chris’ life and travels into the wild. Like Chris, Rosellini had a good back ground; he came from a prosperous family. Also, he was a great student and athlete. He read books obsessively, which Chris also did. Unlike Chris, Rosellini had accomplished a degree from the University of Washington and later Seattle University. After college, at an older age than Chris when he left home, he drifted up the northern coast. He finally landed in Cordova. “There in the forest at the edge of town, he decided to devote his life to an ambitious anthropological experiment (74).” He wanted to know if man could survive on the land alone without the need of society interfering. He pushed himself to the limit and tested his body, mind and spirit, training it for over a decade. After he had finish his experiment he concluded that man could no longer survive alone in the wild, only on the land. While the way and cause of Chris’ death is not defiantly known, Rosellini was found dead on his floor. It was concluded that he had, for unknown reasons, stabbed himself in the heart. While both Chris and Rosellini wanted to survive in the wild solely on nature, the biggest and most crucial difference between them was that Rosellini finally came to terms that man can not achieve this unrealistic ideal. Chris however died believing in the fantasies that he had read about and wanted to live as his novel heroes did. It is sad to say that the reality of death finally caught up to his unrealistic mindset.

    CRN # 1718

    As you explain well, the addition of Rosellini’s story is so very important to this book, especially because we can see how one man had to come to face with the ideal, while another did not (or did but too late).

  23. Chris Zywica said,

    March 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    The most interesting person out of the other adventures was Everett Ruess. I feel this way because he was never found and there are plenty of alternative theories of what happen to him. Some people say he was murdered, he drowned, and the most interesting, he never died and lived out the rest of his life on an Indian reservation. He was a fairly educated man who came from a well to do family just like McCandless. Ruess worked with some famous artists in his younger years and had a potentially bright future ahead of him when he left to go out into the wilderness at such a young age. Ruess enjoyed the hardships and excitement of dangerous activities almost to the point of recklessness. I feel Chris McCandless and Everett Ruess were one in the same in regards to the effect nature interested them. They both wanted to get lost in it all. They both shared the common idea of losing their identity in the vast loneliness of the open, desolate locations they chose to live. This is indicated by Everett’s alternative name of Nemo which he inscribed on the gulch wall where he was last placed. In Latin, Nemo translates to meaning nobody. This is precisely how McCandless and Ruess wanted to be known. They both shared an interest in the beauty of nature and a simplistic view on how people should live their lives. The differences between the two are apparent. Everett Ruess wasn’t running away from something. He just enjoyed the solitude. Everett was also more prepared for his adventures. He used pack mules and was more survival skills than McCandless. McCandless was trying to prove a point of some sort by alienating himself from society.

    Chris Zywica
    English 1101
    CRN 1718

  24. Stephanie Williams said,

    March 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    In chapter eight of Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, I was compelled by the story of Gene Rosellini. The level of interest Rosellini had in the dependence of human life to modern technology is something that most wonder. “I was interested in know if it was possible to be independent of modern technology,” he told Anchorage Daily News reporter, Debra McKinney, a decade after arriving in Cordova. (74) “He became convinced that humans had devolved into progressively inferior beings,” McKinney explains, “and it was his goal to return to a natural state.” (74) To know that one’s beliefs in something could so compel them to prove it with their own life is somewhat admirable. However, I do believe that one can let their beliefs overtake their sanity.

    Like McCandless, he was young in age when on his journey. Rosellini took to his adventure with a mindset that he would survive the old fashioned way in the wilderness, with out help from the outside world much like Chris. Both men were well educated, had attended college and came from successful families. Both also showed that their beliefs weighed on their minds in such a way that it cost them their lives.

    Gene Rosellini was prepared for his journey unlike Chris. He made effort to maintain good health by working out and keeping in shape. He had a defined purpose to his experiment and was determined to prove his point. Unlike Gene, McCandless didn’t really seem to have a purpose other than it was something he wanted to do. Gene survived his experience for more than a decade and realized he had answered his own question with his experience. “But to borrow a Buddhist phrase, eventually came a setting face-to-face with pure reality. I learned that it is not possible for human beings as we know them to live off the land.” (75) This realization was not one Chris could relate with. Though I do wonder, if while writing the note found on the bus with his body if he had admitted in a round about way that he had been defeated by nature itself.

    Stephanie Williams
    English 1101, CRN 1418

    Absolutely excellent job, Stephanie. Really superior analysis of these two men–their similarities and differences. I also think you’ve made a good point here at the end regarding what Chris may have been thinking with that last note.

  25. Jessica Davis said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    The story that I thought was extremely interesting was the story of Gene Rosellini. Rosellini was bound and determined to live in the wild for 10 years and prove that people today could live like the past- in the Stone Age. Rosellini was extremely educated but he never obtained a degree maintainging that the pursuit of knowledge was a worthy objective in its own right and needed no external validation. Chris and Rosellini were alike in that they both wanted to just get away from civilization. But they different because they were both getting away for different reasons. Chris just wanted to get away… He didn’t really have a reason. Rosellini was trying to accomplish his anthropological experiment. Also another difference in both of them is the way they died. Rosellini stabbed himself in the heart, I believe he did this because he felt like a failure for not being able to accomplish his experiment. Chris died of starvation, yes, a brutal way to die but it wasn’t self inflicted. Chris also went in unprepared for his journey. Rosellini knew exactly what he was doing. Maybe if Chris would have been prepared he wouldn’t have died the way he did. Maybe he would have survived.

    Jessica Davis

  26. Yvette Allison said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    The story of Gene Rosellini was very fascinating to me. He was a very intelligent man, who read continuously, practiced yoga, and even was an expert in the martial arts. He had hundreds of credit hours spent on anthropology, history, philosophy, and linguistics, but never earned a degree. Chris McCandless was a very educated man also, but Rossellini was very different from McCandless, because Chris completed college and obtained a degree, but then left it all behind.

    Rosellini wanted to find out if it was possible to live without modern day technology. He got rid of everything and tried to live with primitive tools and dress with native materials he fashioned with his own hands. McCandless relied on a 10 lb. bag of rice and kept the clothes he had, but he did try to live off the live for nourishment. They both ate berries and hunted game. They both had a vision, but it was opposite of each other in my opinion, Rosellini wanted to prove things to people, and Chris wanted to prove things to himself.

    Rosellini killed himself because he thought he had failed in proving that it was possible to live without today’s modern technology, but he actually lived for about 10 years without it. I believe he may have finally gone a bit insane and in the end taken his own life. McCandless, however, wasn’t trying to prove that people could live without modern technology; he just wanted to prove he could live in the wild. He didn’t care what others thought and he didn’t want anyone to bother him on his quest. In the end he starved to death because of his lack of knowledge of the wilderness. Rosellini had lived in the wilderness, so he proved it could be done to an extent, where McCandless lacked some of the basic knowledge and skill to know how to live off the land.

    Yvette Allison #1727

  27. Amanda Cronan said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    When I started reading the stories in the novel, I did not fully understand why they were here. Why did Jon Krakauer place these random stories of fellow adventurous youngsters in Chris’s story? Then it clicked! Jon is trying to relay his point of view, that Chris was normal, and is even supplying us with examples of others who have followed (or else foreshadows) Chris’s own downfall. Jon even goes so far as to give us stories of individuals who were very literally insane, so he can relay just how sound Chris was.

    The one person who stood out most to me was Everett Ruess. Everett was raised in a very educated family (father went to Harvard) just as Chris was. Both Everett and Chris began this “new life” as young adults (16 – 23). They traveled on “solo trips”, hitchhiked, and trekked across the unknown.

    Chris and Everett were both able to influence people. Everett knocked on the door of Edward Weston, and Edward was so taken with him, he let him stay with him and his family, in his studio. In the same way, Chris was able to touch people in that special way. Chris made many friends on the road. Everett and Chris might settle down for a little bit, but they always returned back to the wilderness, and once again became all alone. Even most of the placed that they settled down were very rural, and the population was next to nothing.

    Chris and Everett were both happy to be sleeping on the ground, going hungry, experiencing physical discomforts, having little money, and trying their best to live off the land. Both young men wrote letters. However, Chris used the alias Alex. Also Everett sent letters back home, as where Chris sent only traffic tickets home. Both of the individuals sent letters back to friends that they had met on the road.

    I felt I could relate more to Chris knowing that there are more of these young men. I think Jon did an excellent job in making me feel more sympathy for Chris. I admit I fell into his trap.

    Amanda Cronan
    English 1101
    Class 1727

  28. Chasiti Walden said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    The story of Gene Rosellini was the most interesting story for me. He reminded me very much of Chris McCandless in some of his attributes. First of all Rosellini was a very intelligent man as was McCandless. I think that Rosellini was also searching for something to make his life feel complete. He wanted to be able to live without modern day technology. His goal was to “return to a natural state.” After ten years he concluded that is was not possible to completely live off the land. I don’t think that Rosellini was like McCandless in the fact that he took his own life because he thought he was a failure. I don’t think that McCandless would have purposely ended his own life. McCandless didn’t see himself as a failure, he knew what he was doing and he was content with it. I don’t think Rosellini was a failure. I think that he had a good theory, but due to our dependence on technology it is impossible to live off the land. In my opinion he didn’t take his life because he failed on his hypothesis, he took it because he never found what he needed to fill the void in his life. His idea’s and his attitude toward the wilderness relates very much to McCandless’s.

    Chasiti Walden
    CRN 1727

  29. hannah hawkins said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    The adventurer that really caught my eye was John Waterman. I think that the he seems to be most like Chris in his reasons for ever going into the wild alone. I feel that they were both exteremly smart and had no reason to really be scared about going out into the wild,execpt that they have not had too much common sence. It seems that simlpe mistakes seemed to prove to be fatal for both Chris and John. John should not have gone out a second time solo, I mean he knew that he could do it from his first experiece into the wild and climbing Denali at a very young age. I just feel that both of these boys were too smart and lacked the common sence that they needed to survive in Alaska. Maybe John thought that since he did it the first time that he could do it again. In my mind the boys kind of used the wild as an escape from their home lives.

    Hannah Hawkins
    CRN 1727

  30. Lisa albano said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    I found the story of Gene Rosellini the most interesting, as well as, the most shocking. Gene Rosellini went into the Alaskan wilderness with a mission at hand. He was determined to prove the hypothesis, that it would be possible to become a Stone Age native.
    Rosellini did not enter into the Alaskan wilderness light hearted, footloose and fancy free. He had come to accomplish a goal he had set for himself, to be a Stone Age native. He came prepared and educated with as much knowledge and wisdom that one could have. In fact, he had more because he was not truly from the Stone Age time. He has the knowledge and skills of all his predecessors to lead and teach him. Rosellini made sure to have all the skills and knowledge to survive. He also made himself physically prepared to withstand the Alaskan winters; which clearly is not anything to sneeze at.
    The fact that Rosellini stabbed himself in the heart at the end of his story was simply shocking to me. He had in fact proven his hypothesis to some degree. The mere accomplishment of surviving in the Alaskan wilderness shows the strength and knowledge Rosellini must have had. We are not sure as to the reason for the suicide, however, it is speculated that it was because of his “failure” to live off the land. I guess my question would be to him…. What did you do for those 10 years? I am sure that I would not have been able to accomplish what Gene Rosellini did. I am saddened by the fact that he was found dead, by suicide. I think Rosellini could have gone on to tell his story of survival and lived a comfortable life.

    Lisa D. Albano
    English 1101 / 1727

  31. Renee Banks-Seawell said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    In reading this book, I found Everett Ruess to be very interesting. After doing a little research, I found that there were more similarities between he and Chris McCandless that I originally had thought.

    Everett Ruess and Chris McCandless were both in their early 20’s. This seems to be a time in life when many young people feel a need for adventure although few pursue it as passionately as these two did. Both men seemed to be very unsatisfied with their lives as they were and were looking for something to bring about a change. I find it interesting that both looked to the “frontier”, Ruess in Utah and McCandless in Alaska, to search for meaning for their lives.

    Some common bonds that I see in both men were that they were described as being sensitive to others with a great adventurous spirit. I found both men to be artistic but each expressed it in a different way. Ruess created rendoring’s of the beautiful nature he has experienced while McCandless seemed to express the art of his adventure in photographs. Both men also seemed to show their artistic talent in the essays they wrote documenting the events of their adventures. Each left behinds letters while McCandless chose to keep and journal and Ruess wrote Essays. Ruess also wrote poetry.

    I also found it interesting that each man wrote a letter to someone stating that it would be some time before they would be in touch again. McCandless wrote a letter to a gentleman whom he had been employed by and Ruess wrote a letter to his parents. This is one great difference in the men as well. By the time McCandless had left for his journey he had virtually stopped all communication with his parents while Ruess was obviously still in touch with his parents.

    The last major contrast that I see is that while McCandless body was found, Ruess’ was not. Even though the McCandless family has suffered very much from the loss of their son, I feel that never knowing exactly what happened could be much more painful.

    Both men definately had a great need for adventure and went against how we normally do things in society. I think some insight can be gained by studying the adventures of both gentlemen.

  32. Melissa Jones said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    I think McCunn’s story is the most interesting out of everyone’s. For one he left a good job to go live off the land. I don’t understand why all the explorers in this book are abandoning life, what are they running away from? What could be so bad to make you go live off in the woods and eventually kill yourself? I don’t get it. It seems like he was prepared in one way but in another way he wasn’t. Yes he had all the guns and how typical of a man that he could just go out into the wild with no education to back it up and live off of what he kills. He was going to take pictures of the wild but what I don’t understand is why? Was he going to sell the pictures, or did he just want them for himself? And how could he forget to tell the pilot to come back and get him; that would be the main thing on my mind. Why did he throw his shotgun shells away? It’s like these men only thought about half of the journey and left the other half up to God. And the thing that really got me was the plane. All you can say is damn. It was a very simple and innocent mistake. I probably wouldn’t have read the manual on ways to signal for help I would have done the same thing. You don’t think about the proper way to do things when you’re in a crisis you just want help. But I also didn’t understand if he was waving a big orange sleeping bag that would have looked like a cry for help to me, what’s the point of trying to get someone’s attention if you don’t want it. The way that things happened just didn’t make since.
    Melissa Jones

  33. Kaye Cox said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    I found Gene Rosellini the most interesting of the stories told for comparison to Chris McCandless. He was very educated and took his decision seriously when choosing “to devote his life to an ambitious anthropological experiment” (74). It was the same to him as I feel like to Chris. He was in pursuit of knowledge and wanted to prove something. Although he went about his journey prepared for the era he was trying to live in and create, where as Chris took very little of his knowledge with him, a book on berries…

    Rosellini’s story did not leave you wondering if he was mentally ill or in need of therapy. He seemed to create a study of different eras that would have been wonderful to share with others. I do believe that his constant pursuit of knowledge and struggle in the end with the era’s he was trying to live, left him feeling as though he had failed.

    Chris McCandless was extremely smart. I do not believe he was not out to prove anything to the world. He was looking for something missing from his own life. This could have blinded him from realizing what was needed to survive or possibly he was challenging his knowledge as well. I do believe Chris would have benefited from counseling. Writing in his journal in 3rd person makes you wonder, along with other events, if he was of his right mind.

  34. Angela Patterson said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    I think that Everett Ruess had the most interesting story. He embarked on his journey to discover beauty, and to speak of beauty in romantic terms. He is very much a spiritual person, and trust most of his decisions based upon spiritual guidance. I think that he was able to observe some fascinating works, such as being on the Indian reservation and being among the Anasazi culture.

    I also believe that Christpher McCandless resembled Ruess the most. The two of them liked to change their names, in addition to leaving their signature in various places. They also had heroes that they longed to be like. Chris and Everett both came from high class families; however they seemed to be yearning for something that only they could explain for themselves. The two of them also left their families and their home with no explanation of their plans or destination. Chris and Ruess both had no regard for personal safety. Chris would refuse help from people and was scarcely prepared, where as Ruess would stay in the woods with oozing sores on his body and subject himself to possible disease. The both of them seemed to have good hearts and a plan to follow, but the both of them also appear to have underestimated the wilderness.

    English 1101/1727

  35. Maria Elia Hernandez said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Rossellini was a very determined, daring and challenging man. He had a well
    thought out plan.That is what drew me to him. Rosellini new where, how and why he was going in the woods. He was prepared with his experiment.Unlike Chris McCandless who went to the wood with nothing to fight his own enemies inside his distorted mind. Russulini conditioned his body and used tools to try to live in the Stone Age for 10 years. Even though he did not succeed; we can see his willingness to prove that we could not live like the Stone Age era. Rossellini killed after his ten year journey with his experiment. I believe that just with the fact that he lived out this experiment for 10 years should say a lot about Rossellini’s determination.

  36. TIFFANY MAJORS said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    The person that stands out in my mind is Carl McCunn, the guy who went out 75 miles northeast of Fort Yukon to take photos of wildlife. He was unprepared because though he arranged to be dropped off, he never arranged for someone to come pick him up at the end of the summer. He even confessed in his diary that he should have used more insight in arranging his departure (page 81 Into The Wild, Krakauer). He was dropped of in March, 1981 and didn’t realize his predicament until August. In September, he had the chance of being saved when an aircraft flew over him, but since he used the wrong help signal, the pilot thought he was fine and flew on off. In September, snow was piled up and the lake was frozen over. He eventually killed himself with a .30-.30 since he didn’t believe he would be saved and was freezing to death. . His body wasn’t found until two months after he died and his body was frozen as hard as stone. I have never wanted to go on such a journey since I do not like the cold but he was definitely similar to McCandless in being unprepared. He was different in the fact of Chris having book knowledge so Chris probably would have known the proper signal for SOS when the helicopter flew over and he knew what type of berries and shrubs to eat. McCunn was also a dreamer which reminds you of Chris. I hate that both of them had to wind up dying such a terrible, avoidable death.

  37. John Mcbrayer said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    I find the story of Everett Ruess to be very interesting. At the age of 16 he took his first long journey, which took him through Yosemite and Big Sur. According to Wallace Stegner, “what Everett Ruess was after was beauty, and he conceived beauty in pretty romantic terms”. The beauty contained in Yosemite and Big Sur is enough to make one want to travel and journey for a lifetime. In Carmel, he knocked on the door of a stranger and ended up hanging around the guy’s studio for months. This is interesting to me because it shows that he was not completely anti-social. I have no idea what was going through his mind, but he does not seem to be running from anything. Stegner states that in Ruess’ letters to friends and family, he damned the stereotypes of civilization. Ruess and McCandless both seemed to be against the society of our country. Ruess, to me, actually seems to be pretty stable and only wanted to enjoy the beauty of his surroundings.

    John McBrayer
    English 1101 / CRN 1727

  38. TIFFANY MAJORS said,

    March 25, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    The person that stands out in my mind is Carl McCunn, the guy who went out 75 miles northeast of Fort Yukon to take photos of wildlife. He was unprepared because though he arranged to be dropped off, he never arranged for someone to come pick him up at the end of the summer. He even confessed in his diary that he should have used more insight in arranging his departure (page 81 Into The Wild, Krakauer). He was dropped off in March, 1981 and didn’t realize his predicament until August. In September, he had the chance of being saved when an aircraft flew over him, but since he used the wrong help signal, the pilot thought he was fine and flew on off. In September, snow was piled up and the lake was frozen over. He eventually killed himself with a .30-.30 since he didn’t believe he would be saved and was freezing to death. . His body wasn’t found until two months after he died and his body was frozen as hard as stone. I have never wanted to go on such a journey since I do not like the cold but he was definitely similar to McCandless in being unprepared. He was different in the fact of Chris having book knowledge so Chris probably would have known the proper signal for SOS when the helicopter flew over and he knew what type of berries and shrubs to eat. McCunn was also a dreamer which reminds you of Chris. I hate that both of them had to wind up dying such a terrible, avoidable death.

  39. Landon McDonnell said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Gene Rossellini seems to be the most compelling. Yes, he seemed to be very intense and companionate about life in the wilderness and finally ended up killing himself with a knife through the heat. Ya, nobody would do this in civilized society, ya right. A common theme between all the wilderness people is to find truth regardless of how illogical it may seem to be. Yet, what really seems to make Rossellini so compelling is that he seemed to find the truth of the truth that the others where trying to find. People don’t seem to really die in the wilderness because of their lack of skills. It is more the idea that they have skills to begin with. In civilized society we need to have skills in order to survive, but having skills means there needs to be the possibility of mistake. Which means there needs to be the possibility of corruption and evil. This possibility of mistake means that mistakes are tolerated. Yet in the wild mistakes can easily kill. It is not this way because the wild is mean or unforgiving. It is this way because the wild does not understand corruption and evil. Man is evil so when he brings it into the wild it can kill because the wild does not comprehend it. This is what Rossellini means when he says it is impossible to live in the wild. I think Chris understands this when he dies. In that they are similar.
    CRN 1727

  40. March 25, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Everett Ruess struck me as a very interesting man. He was deep into writers just as Chris was and he also gave himself another name. I think that people who give themselves another name, other than the one given to them at birth, either have issues with who they currently are or it’s just their start for who they want to become. It’s their other personality so to speak, but not in a crazy skitzofrantic type of way. I’m an artist that goes by the alias “Panic” and it’s looked at as normal. Some people just feel better with their own given identity and I believe that Everett Ruess’ Captain Nemo isn’t as crazy as one might first think. I, just as many others, have been influenced by writers in a life changing way. One of my examples is Ron Paul’s, “A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship”. On top of that movies such as “V for Vendetta” have literally changed my life. So when I hear so many people judge these people in a book or the man that wrote the book blows my mind away. They forget what’s changed them and helped make them who they are no matter how Into the Wild it may seem. Chris wants to be free and do people such as Everett Ruess. They’ll do whatever it takes to get their own freedom. They’ll do it no matter what others in ‘society’ may think because it’s their own personal happiness that’s on the chopping block not the care for their reputation. Chris does lots of research unlike most of the others that chose the path of the anti-society. Chris was found dead even with all of his knowledge but Ruess never was found at all. So maybe he outlasted most or maybe he met an unfortunate end that no one will ever know.

    Jonathan Poff 1735

  41. Allison Brock said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Gene Rosellini’s story stuck out the most for me. To me, he seemed the most sane – except for the way he died. Up until that point he had been conducting an experiment. I admired the fact that he thought that the pursuit of knowledge was a worthy objective in its own right. He accumulated hundreds of college credit hours but did not earn a degree. That is not something I would do, but I admire that train of thought.

    I think that Rosellini was similar to McCandless in that he did not believe that man needed all of what modern civilization had to offer in order to survive. Also, like McCandless, Rossellini was very intelligent and lived by his own rules. He did not mind hardship and seemed to welcome it. He pushed himself beyond what a “normal” person would as did Chris.

    Rosellini was different from McCandless in that his living off the land was an experiment. He spent ten years in the wild before coming to the conclusion that it was impossible. For Chris, it was not a question but a certainty. Chris believed that it was wrong to live in society, whereas Rosellini just thought that it might be possible to live without the comforts of the modern age.

    Allison Brock
    CRN 1735

  42. Jason Simms said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    They most fascinating story to me was about Gene Rosellini. In many ways Gene Rosellini was a lot like Chris McCandless. They both were born from wealthy families and both were extremely intelligent men. It also seemed that Gene had a problem with the way society was, just like Chris did. They both seemed like they had something to prove but Gene did not go into his mission unprepared like Chris did. As Debra McKinney stated Gene Rosellini expreimented with many different eras. That tells me that he study how the people in the Iron Age, Bronze Ages and the Roman Ages survied back in those times and he used that knowlegde to help him survive in the wild for 10 years. I believe Chris did not study or prepare very well in order to survive in the wild because if he would have I believe he would have survived a lot longer than he did.

    It was just very sad to that Gene took his life the way he did, for someone to put forth the effort he did just to take his on life. If Chris would have taken the time to research other men that had tried to attempt to separate from society and live in the wild, may be he would have succeded longer in his mission or just not attempted his mission at all.

  43. Tony Beatty said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    The character that attracts me the most is the story of Gene Rosellini. Rosellini was a very interesting man he believed things a lot of people agree with but they would not say them out loud. His ideas made a lot of sense. His thinking of school really caught my eye. He believed that a degree had no value to him because he felt his yearning for knowledge had no external validation. I have always said that knowledge is power. His use of no technology contradicts mine because I think that technology is essential to human survival hell the tools he was using where still technology just not current. Plus, its not that bad having your food cook in thirty seconds and not have to walk to grandma’s house. His story sort of relates to the Chris story because they both were trying to leave everything behind. They also both wanted to start something new. They also both were very educated and not from poor families especially Rosellini. The difference is Rossellini was out trying to prove some kind educational argument and Chris seems like he was not trying to prove anything. I think Chris was just doing something that he wanted to do.

  44. Cyrena Wamsley said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    The person who struck me the most was Gene Rosellini. When he was in school he was the smart student who carried out a 4.0 and studied all of the hard and more enduring classes, but in the end he left with out getting a degree in anything. I am guessing a few years later he was noticed living in the woods. What struck me about this was it seems odd that he would rather live in the woods living off of barries and roots instead of having a degree in something he likes and live his life that way. I find this very interesting because not everyone wants to be rich to be happy; according to Rosellini it seems that living his life like the different eras did makes him happy. Both Rosellini and McCandless to me seemed to be alike in many different ways. First, they both used former knowledge of what can and cannot be eaten in the forest and made their own devises to kill things. They also were the athletic type and kept were in shape. But in the end before both of them died, they seemed to realize the same thing; living life the way that they were for so long is not all what they thought it was going to be. They both probably thought that it would be easier and more adventurous than their previous life going to school and living normal, but end the end they killed themselves because they had nothing left of themselves. But on the other hand they have their differences. McCandless was given a machete and other items to help him live and Rosellini had nothing. He wanted to be like the people in the Roman Times who had to fend for themselves with everything. These two men were very brave in what they did and had a good head on their shoulders, but in the end I feel that it just got to them and they literary had nothing left so they died happy in their minds.
    Cyrena Wamsley
    CRN: 1735

  45. Lucy Terrones said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    The adventurer that I found most interesting was Gene Rossellini. It’s amazing how much he did and the things he accomplished. He tried to prove the one can survive with out modern technology and one can live independently without any society. However, I disagree because I depend a lot in technology and I know I can’t survive without it. Maybe it’s just because I was raised this way, but I wouldn’t go out into the wild to prove one can survive with out modern tools. One more thing that I found interesting is where it said he ran 18 miles a day. I guess when you have a lot of time in your hands you come up with good ideas. I’m an athletic person and if one day I run 18 miles I will feel proud of my self, but in the mean time I’ll stick with 1 mile a day. MaCandless and Rossellini have in common that they both gave up there social life and dedicated it to nature. However, MaCandless ran towards nature because he had mental and emotional problems with his life. Rossellini just wanted to prove that one can survive in the nature with out technology. They both had the ability to accomplish their goal; however, MaCandless died of an accident tragedy and Rossellini killed him self, but left no reason.
    Lucy Terrones
    English 1101
    CRN #1735

  46. Ingried Ramirez said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    After reading the different stories of the other explorers in the book into the wild I think that Gene Rossellini’s story was the most interesting one. He sounds like a very smart person that was trying to make a point by doing his experiment. He prepares himself to experience a life like the way it was in the Bronze Age, Iron Age etc. Contrary of Christopher McCandless’ story, Rossellini’s sounds more realistic, he takes everything step by step and gets well prepare to prove a point. On the other hand something similar among these two explorers is that they try to show to society that life has become very materialistic and that no one is appreciating life the way it is, simple and beautiful. They both appreciate nature and believe that there is so much from it that society is not appreciating. I think that the most important thing that these two people did was, that they stood up for what they believe even if was to risk their lives.
    Ingried Ramirez
    English 1101
    CRN# 1735

  47. Jessica Dowdle said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Jessica Dowdle
    English 1101, CRN 1735

    I find the story of Carl McCunn to be interesting. He too went into the wilderness like Chris McCandless and it costed him his life. Unlike McCandless he was well prepared to live off of the land for months as he had plenty of weapons to kill animals for food. McCunn had a pilot fly him out into the wilderness of the Brooks Range and forgot to tell him when to come get him. How could someone who had obviously put time and energy into planning this trip make a mistake as deadly as that? I wonder if maybe he didn’t want anyone to come back for him. He also had a hunting license that had emergency hand signals on it and when a plane did come he did not know the signals. How could someone going out into the wilderness not know hand signals? That is basic boy scouts. That should be the first thing you learn before going out into the wilderness alone. A man that knew McCunn described him as a dreamer. I think that he is like McCandless in that sense. It just seems like reality kind of disappears when they step into the wild. Reading this book I have found that there are many men who have went out into the wilderness on a wimb or dream and I don’t understand it. It is interesting to read about though. Although I wish they all kept a diary so we really could know what goes through there minds.

  48. Dana Farmer said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I think that Rossellini’s story stood out the most for me. He came across as being the sanest person out of all that were discussed and compared to McCandless.

    Both McCandless and Rossellini seemed to be accomplished men who had a fairly decent childhood. From the reading, things were lined up for them both…money was never a problem. They both did exceptionally well through high school and college. My take on McCandless is he was a very normal and bright person. I think both of these men knew exactly what they would be getting their selves into.

    On the other hand, they are different because Rossellini only lived out in the wild as an experiment. I don’t think this is something he truly wanted to do in his heart. McCandless loved hiking, camping, and just being a part of the outdoors. When he left Atlanta he wanted to live off of the land, and would have continued to do so if he wouldn’t have ate a poisonous potato seed. Rossellini in fact did last longer, but concluded it’s not possible. My question is, based on what information is this not possible? I feel it was only his personal opinion. How can we trust someone’s judgment that eventually commits suicide? Personally, it makes me wonder.

    Dana Farmer

  49. Jeremy Daniels said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    The story of the life of Gene Rosellini stood out to me most in Krakauer’s comparisons of McCandless’ life and beliefs with those of other men who lived with much of the same convictions. Rosellini’s story was compelling because he took on a task that most wouldn’t even dream about doing; he decided to drop all of society’s technology and live off the land the way a caveman would. To me, I consider it stupidity to disregard what has taken human kind thousands of years to develop.
    Like McCandless, Rosellini had some personal beliefs that you could say were definitely not of the norm and the two shared a common interest in nature and separation from society. They both lived with self-imposed rules that hindered them to the point that their intelligence couldn’t even save them. Yet the two are different in that Rosellini had sought to prove a hypothesis and McCandless only strived to connect with nature and have a truly enlightening experience. McCandless wasn’t out to prove anything other than just living his life and having “The Ultimate Odyssey.” In the end, they both ended their own lives; Rosellini took it at the tip of a knife while McCandless let his own arrogance take it for him.

  50. Charles Harrington said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Out of all the people that we read about, the person who seems the most compelling to me would be Gene Rosellini. Gene was the elder step son of the governor of Washington State. He was a brilliant athlete and student; he sustained a 4.0 GPA through high school and college. Although he never received a college degree, he compiled hundreds of credit hours. He was interested in knowing if it was possible to be independent of modern technology. He decided to devote his life to an ambitious anthropological experiment, by living in the most primitive circumstances and eating only what came from the land. This person can be related to Christopher McCandless in many different ways. They were both excellent students and athletes. Neither of them wanted to be part of the modern world or technology. They both lived in very primitive situations by choice. Both of them ended up dying in the wilderness. Although they are very similar, there are a few differences between them. McCandless took tools along with him to help him survive, while Rosellini used only primitive tools. McCandless died of starvation, while Rosellini committed suicide. Both of these men seem very heroic to me, although they may be misunderstood.
    Charles Harrington Crn:1735

  51. Brittany Spallone said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Rosellini struck me as having the most interesting story. I think it is really remarkable how he built his hovel without a saw or any type of tool we might use to build something. Also how he used rocks as weights and how he ran a lot. He took an average guy into the wild and substituted things to make it like living in a regular society. Rosellini like McCandless attended college and didn’t care for it. They both came from a loving background and had a little bit of money. A few things were different between them on how they were going to adventure into the wild. One thing was that Rosellini didn’t bring anything with him; he made all his tools from nature and dressed in rags. McCandless had a backpack full of items and also carried money with him. Rosellini wanted to try to prove he could live independently, without modern resources. “I began my adult life with the hypothesis that it could be possible to become a Stone Age native. For over 30 years, I programmed and conditioned myself to this end. In the last 10 of it, I would say I realistically experienced the physical, mental, and emotional reality of the Stone Age. But to borrow a Buddhist phrase, eventually came a setting face-to-face with pure reality. I learned that it is not possible for human beings as we know them to live off the land.” –Gene Rosellini

    Brittany Spallone
    English 1101, CRN 1735

  52. Catherine Daniels said,

    March 25, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    In chapter eight of Into the Wild, I was compelled by the story and life of Gene Rosellini. The curiosity that he had on how to succeed in the wild caught my attention. It even made me think of my own curiosity of the wild and if I could do what he did. Gene Rosellini had a certain curiosity about the wild that flourished into an anthropology experiment.

    He told an Anchorage Daily News reporter that he was interested in knowing if it was possible to be independent of modern technology. He was curious to know if people could survive off the land and still meet all their needs. Unlike going to a grocery store and buying pre-packaged meat, he wanted to see if he could hunt and kill and even make his own food off the land. What inspired me the most about Gene Rosellini is that he did a lot of research before his quest on different eras- Roman times, the Iron Age, and the Bronze Age. For myself, it makes me wonder whether I could survive on this land without any help from society. I often enjoy going camping and being outdoors, but to fully depend upon the land regardless of how much research I did, I’m not sure that I could do it.

    We know that Chris McCandless and Gene Rosellini were both well educated and came from well developed families. They both had a drive and a passion that seemed to keep burning within until they could finally accomplish their drive or passion. For both men they were unstoppable; once they set a goal there was no one to stop them. I admire their passion and drive, but for myself I was in their positions I would definitely take into consideration what others had to say and weigh out the pros and cons. For both men they decided to leave society and go into a search or quest into the wild. Gene Rossellini’s reason for leaving society and living in the wild for a decade was to prove that he could survive in the wild and could live independently without modern resources. I believe that Chris McCandless only wanted to go on his odyssey because it’s what he wanted to do and he had a plan and wanted to stick to it. He was not one for giving up on things. Also, he didn’t plan out his trip and he constantly was hypocritical of whether he was truly abandoning society or not. Both men ended up dying on their quest. Even though Gene Rosellini was on his quest for a decade he died from stabbing himself in the heart, and Chris McCandless died from nature itself.

  53. Kamilla Araujo said,

    March 25, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    There wasn’t any adventurer that really caught my attention in the past few chapters. After reading about some of these people, I have come to realize how common it can be to just turn away from civilization and join the wilderness. Most of these people stroke me as crazy and a little bit suicidal. You would think that before they went away somebody would have realized that they were going mad and try to stop them. Even though most of them kept their journey as a secret for a while
    There was though one person that I could connect to McCandles and that was Everett Ruess. It’s kind of funny how they are so alike and different at the same time. They both were smart enough to go to college, one graduates and the other one doesn’t. They both make sure their letters are sent back to sender after they are gone for a few months, and they both decide to change their name into something that would connect more to the adventure they were about to start, as if they were some kind of super hero looking for a name to describe their power. Their differences are very small but are pointed out so we could understand that no matter how prepared one thought he was (Ruess), or how another one wasn’t, they both faced death.
    One of the most interesting connections they had was the fact, which they both wrote about; their desire to connect with nature and join the wilderness believing that they could both face anything came up. And even though they died, I believe maybe all of them started this journey to find a peaceful way to end their lives.

    Kamilla Araujo

  54. March 25, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    The person that I thought was the most compelling was Everett Ruess. As I was reading, I noticed the time period that Everett Ruess grew up in. That time period was already a hard time to live in if you think about it. The technology was not as nearly as advanced as it is today. And they did not have all the facilities that we have now. So my question was: If Everett Ruess was already in a time period where you came across hardships everyday. What else was he looking for? Did he not have enough problems with the hardships that he already have? Whatever his real reasons were, I am still amazed at how a young boy in that time period was able to carry out his dreams the way he did. He was the person that compared the most with Chris McCandless in my view. For example: they were loners and wanders that wanted appreciate the real beauty of the wilderness. The more time they spent out in the wild the more they departed from the real world and as were in the wild they would create new names for themselves. This dream they shared though, brought them their demise. The difference was that Everett Ruess was more prepared to live in the wild in contrast to Chris McCandless. He knew what he needed in order to survive. We don’t know if he did die or if he lived. We do know that Chris McCandless dies. But there is still a question about the cause of his death. They are more alike then different, but that still does not take away their passion for their dreams and aspirations.

  55. Sabrina McCollum said,

    March 25, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    The character that I admired the most was John Waterman. John was raised in the Washington suburb that McCandless was raised. Both Chris and John came from prosperous families. Both also had fathers who taught their sons hiking and camping at a young age. At sixteen, John climbed Mt. McKinley. I think this says a lot about Waterman. He seemed to be a man who wanted to stand out in a crowd and make a name for himself.
    John was critical of himself and compulsive. I think the same of McCandless since he gave up all his money and cumpulsivly wanted to keep paying the people he met on his oddesey for their time . Both had a good education and were idealist of the world. Both set out on an adventure with no planning in mind. Waterman went to Denali with a cheap one piece suit and didn’t even have a sleeping bag. Both men weren’t prepared enough to bring excess food, clothing or weapons for defense. By not being well prepared and stubborn both men were found dead and alone.

    Sabrina McCollum

  56. Carolina Carrion-K said,

    March 25, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Behind all these stories, all these different characters from different backgrounds there is definetly something inspiring, something which in a way states a love for nature and adventure. These explorers, adventurers, kids, show an insaciable passion for exploring and pushing their own limits, and this is something which I love and hate at the same time.

    If I think of the story of Everett Ruess, I can find many parallels with the story of McCandless. Both of them had access to a higher education, and academically speaking they were both smart. Both of them had this desire to go out in an adventure, to cover new territory and to “live more intensly and richly.” This I find inspiring, the fact that someone can realize that there’s something more than the way of living that we have been tought. That it’s our duty to look for beauty, to find meaningful conections with the people that come across our lives. At the same time there are elements on all these stories that cause a certain distress on me. One being that sense of loneliness, of not feeling understood by anyone. In one of his writtings Everett says: “I have some good friends here, but no one who really understands why I am here or what I do (… ) I have gone too far alone.” I dislike this because they seam to cover so much territory phiscally, so many places, and at the same time they fail to think beyond themselves, they seam to want to be understood, but do so little to understand other people. Another element I don’t understand is that of making things harder than what they are, of punishing their body. McCandeless did this constantly by taking little gear and provisions, and Everett did the same by the pain he suffered from poisin ivy, ants and flies, which in a way he even seamed to welcome.

    There are many things in common between all of these adventurers, and I would say that maybe I can see why. As human beings we need to become better, we need to challenge ourselves, and this is something which I embrace from all their stories, it definetly takes character to do the things thay did. But for these stories to become truly inspiring to me they would need to seek to attain balance, and by pushing too far in a way, to me at least, they defeat themselves and their message.

    CRN 1735

  57. Maria F. Diaz said,

    March 25, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    The story that interested me the most was the one from Carl McCunn. Unlike McCandless he seemed to be prepared for the amount of time that he planed to be in the wild. He had a porpuse, and that was taking pictures of tundras. He was not trying to proof anything to himself or anybody. He was not trying to escape from his life. He did not change his identity and he seemed to be a social guy that liked to be around people. It was very impresive to me that on his last minutes he wrote ”Dear God in Heaven, please forgive me my weakness and my sins. Please look over my family.” He really appreciated his family.

    There are many similarities with McCandless. He was a dreamer. He loved the wilderness He was smart and extremely responsible. He also did odd jobs and he kept a journal.

    I was surprised that he forgot to arrange to be picked up. One terrible mistake was tossing all the shotgun shells because he thought he had too many. Another mistake was not doing the right signal when the plane went by. He did not wanted to die. I think that his dead was the cause of little mistakes that he could avoid.

    Maria F. Diaz
    English 1101

  58. Raquel Hill said,

    March 25, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    On my opinion I think that Rosellini’story is the most interesting, compelling story. I felt this way about him when he was able to survive for ten years in a Stone Age. Even though he thought it was a failure of his hypothesis, I am so amaze. It is hard to survive on those conditions. I think he thought it was a failure of his hypothesis because people from the Stone Age survived longer than that. He was a well educated person and had a good financial situation; however, he left everything like Chris McCandless. Rosellini was prepared when he decided to do this journey as difference from Chris. He just walked away into the wild without a purpose or achieve. Rosellini wanted to prove something and he did it. After ten years he shot himself thinking that he failed; on the other hand, Chris starved himself to death without letting know the reason.

    English 1101
    CRN 1727

  59. Landon McDonnell said,

    March 26, 2008 at 1:23 am

    Addition to the revised entry

    I think that Chris and Rosellini are similar in that they both realize that “wilderness” is an idea. The wild is an idea that is actually there and can be seen from the edge of the road, but it becomes, without us knowing, something completely different when we set foot upon it. The idea creates a kind of duality when we are in its prescience because it knows that duality controls the perception in the world we come from. It knows that we need this duality in order for us to venture out. We end up thinking that having the skills to live in the idea is what enables us to live in it. Which is true in our side of the duality. It is possible to live a lifetime alone in the wilderness based on the fact that if you have the skills you can do so. I don’t think Rosellini was dinning this. I think that Rosellini found out about the wild’s side of the duality. The wild’s side is where there is no duality. It just is. There a tree is a tree and nothing else. It is impossible for humans to live a lifetime alone in the “wilderness” because in the wild a tree could never also be a piece of paper.
    We basically end up not knowing what to do because we are confused, lost, starving to death, and feeling truly alone.

    CRN 1727

  60. Juan Gomes said,

    March 26, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I believe that Gene Rosellini’s story is the most admirable. Much like McCandless, Rosellini was an idealist and a highly educated person. Rosellini showed an impressive level of commitment to prove his hypothesis. Not only he studied every aspect of it, but he actually lived like in the Stone Age for ten years. However, Rosellini choose to live in such a primitive way because he wanted to prove his hypothesis; not because he wanted to be a rebel or to find answers to any unresolved issues.

    I found Everett Ruess’ story to be very similar to McCandless’. They were both romantic, fearless, and had similar personalities. Ruess, much like McCandless, had an affinity to the natural world. They admired the beauty and the wisdom of nature. McCandless and Ruess also shared their dislike to follow society like most people do. Another similar characteristic between these two stories is that both of them acquired new names: Captain Nemo and Alex Supertramp. Nevertheless, I find Everett Ruess’ acquired name to be more significant than McCandless’. Ruess felt identified to the character, Captain Nemo, from a novel that he read many times. McCandless does not give any evidence of a similar inspiration for his acquired name.

    In my opinion, Mr. Krakauer is trying to justify his sympathy towards McCandless by comparing different stories of similar and not so similar characters. It is clear that Mr.Krakauer does not want McCandless to be conceived as a lunatic or a rebel without cause.

    Juan Gomes
    CRN #1727

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