The Real Walter White

by Adriana Reyes

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In the series Breaking Bad, Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher who gets involved in a very unreputable line of work after his cancer diagnosis. This Walter is obviously a fictional character on a popular television show, but did you know that a real-life Walter White lives among us? He may not be a high school chemistry teacher, but he was considered a top-notch meth dealer in his community of drugys. The two Walters are so similar that some question whether Vince Gilligan used the real Walter White as an archetype for the fictional Walter White in Breaking Bad. Or did the real-life Walter White use the fictional one as his exemplar? Walter was convicted for the production of meth in 2008, which is the same time the series began. And so, was the series based off of this man from Alabama? Or was is just coincidence?

After all, police found $10,000 worth of meth and $15,000 in cash at his home at one point (according to CBS News). This strongly ties together with the way in which Gilligan portrays the amount of wealth fictional Walter is able to accumulate through his transgressions. Though this is a great question to entertain, the truth seems to be that the connection is mere coincidence. It was bound to happen that someone among the billions of people who occupy this world would have a very similar experience to that of Walter White in the series. Perhaps this is the reason why it has captivated so many audiences. Perhaps the fact that, although the experience is not common to most people, the things that Walter go through in the series does happen to some people in this world. It is not common, but people can be found who go through these unusual circumstances and because the lives of the people who have these unusual circumstances are rare, others who may be leading a “normal” life will find the circumstances so intriguing and captivating.

And so, the real story of Walter White can be seen through this documentary on YouTube. As you can see, Walter is a man from Alabama who got into the meth business because he needed the money. So many similarities can be seen between the fictional Walter White and the Walter White from Alabama: they both live in rural areas, have families to support, have a talent for making the best crystals, and they both have the greed for more money than they actually need. The way in which Breaking Bad is able to lure its audience into its action-packed, drama-filled episodes is through the strong link with the actions of the real world. Although the experiences of the characters of the show are generally unlikely, there are aspects of it that do happen to everyday people: family problems, financial problems, and illnesses. The very extreme examples of drug production and murder in the show are less likely to happen in days of everyday people, but this does not mean that it never happens. Even though the instance is rare, any possibility of its occurrence brings people to the conclusion that it can happen and it can happen to them. This thought makes the show that much more interesting and compelling, and it allows the viewers to relate their lives back to Walt and truly become encompassed in the series.

The Real Walter White:

 

 

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