Christopher McCandless is NOT a True Transcentalist

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Transcendentalism is a religious, philosophical, literary, and social movement of the nineteenth century. Essentially, this movement was based upon the ideals of the “sixth sense,” nature, and non-conformity, as well as individualism, intuition, idealism, imagination, and inspiration. A few of the works and writings featured in the transcendental unit include Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, The Beatification of Chris McCandless: From Thieving Poacher into Saint by Craig Medred, and Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The primary focus of this essay is to provide an opinion on a strikingly debatable topic; Whether or not Christopher McCandless, hero of Krakauer’s Into the Wild, was a true transcendentalist. Despite the bold actions of Chris McCandless on his daring Alaskan odyssey, he turned out to be far from a true transcendentalist, failing to meet the definition of transcendentalism, being solely concerned with himself, and acting out of revenge rather than seeking self discovery - nothing more than a childish suicidal rebel.

To begin with, McCandless did not present the slightest interest in religion. An issue is created in the claim that McCandless is a true transcendentalist due to the fact that religion was a large portion of the transcendental movement. Transcendentalists believed that there is a unity between nature and God; That one may discover God through immersing themselves in nature. They also held the belief that God is present in each individual; That humans as a whole form God because a fragment of Him is within each human being. Christopher McCandless did not share these beliefs. In reality, McCandless was arrogant and self-important. He felt inferior to nothing and superior to everything. He did not believe that Go...

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...hat Christopher McCandless is, in fact, a true transcendentalist because he failed to qualify for so many of the requirements of transcendentalism. Ultimately, Christopher McCandless proved to be far from a true transcendentalist; nothing more than a childish suicidal rebel.

Works Cited

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature. N.p.: n.p., 1836. Print.

"Into the Wild Quotes." IMDb., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.


Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Random House, 1996. Print.
Matthews, Dave. “Ants Marching.” Under the Table and Dreaming. RCA Records, 1994. CD.

Medred, Craig. "The Beatification of Chris McCandless: From Thieving Poacher into Saint."

Alaska Dispatch. N.p., 20 Sept. 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.

Neely, Tara. “American Transcendentalism.” Microsoft Powerpoint file.

“Ralph Waldo Emerson Says…” PDF file.

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