Chris Mccandless: The Belentist In Into The Wild: Transcendentalist

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In the movie Into the Wild Chris McCandless, the main character, held many of the same transcendentalist ideals that influential transcendentalists such as Henry David Thoreau held; however, Chris is a prime example of someone who missed the point by a long shot. In accordance to the transcendentalist beliefs, Chris decided that after going to college he would go out into the world by himself instead of going into the workforce. From there, he went on a long and exhausting journey to eventually end up in Alaska. He did this based on his gut feeling at the time, something that Thoreau urged people to follow. As with many transcendentalists, Chris valued his individuality and broke off all ties to society that he had during his journey. Chris…show more content…
Chris McCandless did hold many of the qualities of being an upstanding transcendentalist, but he took everything too far.
In Thoreau’s works Walden, he advertised the notion of leaving the world behind to find our true selves and Chris did just that. Chris was a intelligent man who could have gone on to have seemingly whatever he wanted, but instead he chose to distance himself from society as a whole. Chris was rather cruel though, he left his entire family behind without even a simple goodbye. One can see just how devastating that was throughout the movie as Chris’s sister is the narrator and often spoke longingly about his brother. Originally this was something that a person such as Thoreau may commend as Thoreau stated in Walden that “society is commonly too cheap.” Thoreau believed that men and women interacted with each other so frequently that all interactions had lost their meaning, that society had no value. Chris believed in this too and rebelled against society. Along his way, Chris abandons everyone who tried to help him from Rainey, a traveling
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Without the texts like “Civil Disobedience” people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi would never have been inspired. Chris, as a modern transcendentalist in his own eyes, should have shared his experience with the world. One might argue that he did, as one can watch the movie or read the book on his adventure, but that is simply incorrect. Chris died and his story inspires many people today to leave the world behind and go to Alaska and die, though the latter is usually not intended. Thoreau and Emerson would be rolling in their graves if they knew that Chris ultimately failed as a transcendentalist, yet he is praised as one too. From Walden to “Self Reliance” by Emerson, they all share a few things in common, mainly that their authors lived to publish their exploits. Towards the end of the movie it is shown that Chris was mostly incoherent by his last few days. Anything that he had even attempted to write down at that point could be false due to his altered state of mind from starvation, dehydration, general loss of sanity from being alone for so long, and the poison berries that eventually took his life. No one could really doubt it had Chris simply just survived. The fact that his tale was even told is surprising, but it would have been more inspiring has he actually survived. People wouldn’t follow in his footsteps
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