Compare And Contrast Thoreau And Chris Mccandless

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Two men entered the woods to live and survive in solitude. One of these men left the woods after 2 years while the other was found dead after only 3 months. These men are known as famous author Henry David Thoreau and nomad Chris Mccandless. Their stories lend themselves to quite a comparison despite their actions being separated by almost 200 years. Chris and Thoreau can be compared the best by looking at why the went to the woods, their belief in society, and their religious beliefs.
Thoreau decided to go to the woods in order to avoid the social distractions of society and to find the real meaning of living life. He makes this idea very clear in the beginning of the book on pages 4 and 5 where he sees the problems in the world. He speaks
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Thoreau conveys many points in his writing and a large recurring one is the state of society. As stated before, he believed that people are too focused on physical gain and modernization which leads them into desperation. He adds on to this belief later in the book asking that above all else whether it be money or fame he be given honesty (Thoreau 246). To Thoreau, the truth is more important than anything measurable in status. Thoreau believes that a minimalist lifestyle is a good lifestyle, similar to Mccandless. He speaks of how it is good that he can put all of his belonging in one pile in his yard because it removes the clutter from his life (Thoreau 85). He also says that his best quality in life is to want very little, because it keeps himself true to himself and keeps him from distraction. Thoreau also believes that every man should be one in himself not oppressed by the government. He says that everyone should be able to be themselves whether is is in accord with the government or not (Thoreau 240). He is essentially saying that the government should not be a part of people's life decisions only to maintain the…show more content…
Mccandless lives a life on a budget from the time he graduated from college until the time he died. He too believed that money held no real value and he demonstrated this many time through out Into The Wild. Firstly when he graduated college he donated all of of his life savings to OXFAM because he believed that he did not need money to live a fulfilling life (Krakauer 125). Another time he gets rid of his money is when he literally burns his money to ash in the desert after his car gets stuck there. Chris at the same time abandons his car in the desert (Krakauer 29). These show how Chris did not believe in materialism because he did not want to have money or items weighing him down. In fact, Krakauer even mentions that Chris would have made Thoreau proud. Chris also has a similar outlook on the government. When the Datsun gets stuck Chris decides not to contact the police or park rangers (Krakauer 28). He does this because not only is afraid of the legal consequences but as the author says, he shares a Thoreau mindset in the adherence of government in people's lives. Another time where Chris renounces the government is when Gallien asks if he has a hunting license. Chris strongly replies with the fact that it is none of the government's business what he eats. This really shows how both Mccandless and Thoreau believe that the government should not be involved in your everyday life and decision
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