Chris McCandless: A True Transcendentalist

1071 Words5 Pages
Billie and Walt McCandless quietly shed tears concerning their twenty-four year old son, Chris McCandless, who had not talked to them for over two years and was found dead in the Alaskan woods. They question why their son had left society, left his own parents nevertheless, and risked his life which ended in his fatality. The transcendental principles which include rejection of society, intuition, and searching for a purpose of life may have guided the aforesaid experience-seeking individual. Chris McCandless’s identification as a transcendentalist is confirmed through his nonconformist actions, his human relationships, and his quest for a higher truth.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is considered the Father of Transcendentalism because he first introduced the idea of a simplistic and intuitive way of life. He claims, “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist . . . Nothing is at least sacred but the integrity of your own mind” (“Self-Reliance” 392). Nonconformity is an essential part of Emerson’s definition of a transcendentalist. To be able to live a truly boundless and accomplished life, one must not fall into the daily, busy life of society. He or she must stand out and follow their intuition, even it is not considered the norm. The only way to be content is to trust one’s instinct, not be jaded by the pressures society.

Chris McCandless, throughout his journey across the country, performed numerous acts which are divergent from the rest of society. For example, he burned $123 in order to show that material things are of no real significance to his life (Krakauer 29). Furthermore, Chris points out in a letter to 81-year-old friend, Ronald Franz, “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the i...

... middle of paper ...

... Chris McCandless’s quest for a higher truth gave him imperative incite that human relationships are necessary in order to live a happy life.

Works Cited

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Nature.” The American Experience. Ed. Kate Kinsella. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education, Inc., 2005. 388-390. Print.

---, “Self-Reliance.” The American Experience. Ed. Kate Kinsella. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education, Inc., 2005. 391-392. Print.

Hampson, Thomas. “The American Renaissance and Transcendentalism.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor Books, 1997. Print.

Saverin, Diana. “The Chris McCandless Obsession Problem.” Outside Magazine. Mariah Media, Inc., 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

“Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy.” U.S. History Online Textbook. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

More about Chris McCandless: A True Transcendentalist

Open Document