Chris McCandless, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

Chris McCandless, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

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Chris McCandless: a man so infatuated with nature, he practically committed suicide to bring himself nearer to it. This extreme liking for nature, along with other ideals, makes up the core tenets of the transcendentalist philosophy. McCandless demonstrates other tenets of transcendentalism as well, most notably the supremacy of the individual, by detaching himself from the mammon of this world. Another way he shows the supremacy of the individual, by the belief that one should not conform to the usual policies of life, causes him great trouble in some cases. As well as the belief that the individual supersedes all else, McCandless received much of his inspiration from nature. Finally, always following what he believes correct, McCandless follows his own intuition to the point of death. Chris McCandless not only shows his transcendentalist beliefs by the way he acts and thinks, but also by how these actions and thoughts emulate those of the fathers of transcendentalism, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Chris McCandless adheres to the tenet of individual supremacy by throwing away and keeping himself far from wealth. He attempts this tremendous feat by donating most of his money and expunging the rest by burning it. He may break the law in this action, but is reveals a great deal about his character: that he cares about people but also that money holds no power in his life. Venturing into the Alaskan wilderness extemporaneously, McCandless also breaks the bonds of wealth by staying away from it. His supplies—“cheap leather hiking boots, … only [a] .22 caliber [rifle]; a bore too small to rely on if he expected to kill large animals like moose and caribou…. He had no ax, no bug dope, no snowshoes, no compass”—allowed h...


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...r the inspiration he requires to learn more about himself. Finally, McCandless follows his own intuition to the point of death. These ideas presented by McCandless not only demonstrate transcendental ideals, but the fathers of transcendentalism themselves lives closely resembling that of Christopher Johnson McCandless, a man who desired to live as close to nature as possible; however, volition alone could not save him from his unintentionally self-inflicted demise.


Works Cited

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Thoreau.” The Atlantic Ideas Tour. Atlantic Monthly Group, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2013. .
James, Henry, Sr. “Emerson.” The Atlantic Ideas Tour. Atlantic Monthly Group, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2013. .
Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. Print.

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