Into the Wild: Henry David Thoreau and Chris McCandless Essay

Into the Wild: Henry David Thoreau and Chris McCandless Essay

Length: 655 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


Transcendentalism was an American philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century. It revolved around
the idea that the unthinking conformity of the surrounding society was not sufficient enough in life. Henry David
Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson were notable figures in this movement. Emerson once urged his followers to search
for “an original relation to the universe”. It is evident that the best way to become a transcendentalist is to sacrifice your
life at hand and form a strong bond with the nature around you. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer showcased Christopher
McCandless, a man who was inspired by these early transcendentalist figures, and by the end of his journey he is
comparable to Thoreau.
Thoreau lived by a few basic, but important, principles. One included that an honest man “has hardly need to
count more than his ten fingers… simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” (Thoreau). He criticized the working class by
saying “men labor under a mistake” (Thoreau), and had a firm belief that living deliberately through nature was the
source of true happiness and understanding. It seemed as if from the start, Chris McCandless was heavily inspired by
Thoreau. McCandless read his books prior to the expedition and gave his best attempt at following in his path.
McCandless had been working very hard the past few years in college and finally realized that he had not yet found true
happiness, so he wanted to change. He burned the cash in his wallet, gave $25,000 to charity, abandoned his car, and
abruptly left his family. He seemed to be replicating Thoreau's life of solitude within nature when he lived in a cabin for
years and wrote Walden. Amidst Chris' journey he said, “I'm going to paraphrase Th...


... middle of paper ...


...ture. His new life of solitude strongly enhances his spiritualistic values.
This becomes apparent in his last hours on earth when he writes “I HAVE HAD A HAPPY LIFE AND THANK THE
LORD. GOODBYE AND MAY GOD BLESS ALL!” (199). It seems as if he finally finds happy and thanks god for
providing this opportunity for him in nature.
There is no argument that Henry David Thoreau was a transcendentalist. He was a minimalist who had strong
spiritual values and he lived amongst nature for an extended period of time. Chris McCandless successfully followed in
Thoreau’s footsteps by giving up human relationships, becoming a minimalist, and increasing his spiritual values. He
truly found happiness within nature when he lived a life of solitude and lived off of what nature provided for him.



Work Cited

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

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Into the Wild: Henry David Thoreau and Chris McCandless Essay

- Transcendentalism was an American philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century. It revolved around the idea that the unthinking conformity of the surrounding society was not sufficient enough in life. Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson were notable figures in this movement. Emerson once urged his followers to search for “an original relation to the universe”. It is evident that the best way to become a transcendentalist is to sacrifice your life at hand and form a strong bond with the nature around you....   [tags: Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
655 words (1.9 pages)

The Individualism of Henry David Thoreau and Chris McCandless Essay

- Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” In this quote, Eleanor is expressing that you should always take advantage of the universal human right to be an individual. From time immemorial, many of those who have led meaningful and enjoyable lives have shared one particular trait in common: individualism. Chris McCandless and Thoreau were no different, they both embodied individualism and as a result they have unknowingly inspired generations....   [tags: Waldon, Into the Wild]

Better Essays
731 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Into The Wild Chris Mccandless

- The New Trend Around 76% of Americans will live their lives paying monthly bills for their homes. The Tiny House Movement is a trending movement where many Americans are moving to a much smaller home ranging from 100-400 square feet built either mobile or on land. Many examples from articles, documentaries, and novels help to understand what the movement actually is, who are apart of this movement, and recognize the reason of the popularity of this movement. Anyone is able to live in a tiny house; the Tiny House Movement applies to everyone, regardless of social class, gender, age, and race....   [tags: Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Novel, Debt]

Better Essays
721 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of Chris Mccandless 's ' The Wilderness '

- Some people, extremely rare as it is, live their lives in a genuine way while showing who they really are. Others build images in their heads of who they want to be and how they want to be depicted. They embody that image, but deep inside it’s not who they really are. There are moments in those people’s lives where their true self comes out, and it ends up contradicting everything they tried so hard to be. Chris McCandless lived towards the latter lifestyle, having an image of himself in his head which wasn’t really who he was....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau]

Better Essays
909 words (2.6 pages)

Henry David Thoreau 's ' Walden ' Essay

- When thinking about the transcendental period and/or about individuals reaching out and submerging themselves in nature, Henry David Thoreau and his book, Walden, are the first things that come to mind. Unknown to many, there are plenty of people who have braved the environment and called it their home during the past twenty years, for example: Chris McCandless and Richard Proenneke. Before diving into who the “modern Thoreaus” are, one must venture back and explore the footprint created by Henry Thoreau....   [tags: Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Concord]

Better Essays
1534 words (4.4 pages)

Transcendentalist Writers: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman

- All young people dream of breaking away from their parents and building their own lives. They yearn to follow their dreams, no matter how wild and crazy, and eventually hope to piece together their true selves. When Christopher McCandless graduated from college and took to the road with no word to his family, he might have appeared to be just another regular kid with overly strong ambitions and an uncontrolled, insatiable thirst for freedom. However, McCandless was more than an average young man who was trying to escape his parents’ control and live recklessly on his own devices....   [tags: Christopher McCandless , ideologies]

Better Essays
1447 words (4.1 pages)

Christopher Mccandless 's Into The Wild Essay examples

- Herbert Otto, an esteemed author, once wrote, “Change and growth take place when a person has risked themselves and dares to become involved in experimenting with their own life” (Wilderdom: A Project in Natural Living & Transformation). Essentially, Otto is saying that in order to grow as a person and become educated, one must break free from what bring him or her comfort, which allows him or her to be daring and adventurous. Christopher McCandless holds a similar view point on education and experimentation or adventure, which can be seen in Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild....   [tags: Christopher McCandless, Into the Wild]

Better Essays
1036 words (3 pages)

Essay about The True Story Of Christopherjohnson Mccandless

- “Two years he walks the earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou shalt not return, 'cause "the West is the best." And now after two rambling years comes the final and greatest adventure. The climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual pilgrimage. Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitchhiking bring him to the Great White North. No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild....   [tags: Christopher McCandless, Alaska, Into the Wild]

Better Essays
1026 words (2.9 pages)

Chris McCandless is a Transcendentalist Essay

- In the film Into the Wild directed by Sean Penn, viewers may have gathered enough evidence to back up their thoughts on Christopher McCandless being a transcendentalist or a non-transcendentalist. Chris portrayed the effort of being a transcendentalist just as Ralph Waldo Emerson and David Thoreau did. He abandoned his nice life to hitchhike all over North America and he was happy about it. McCandless unfortunately died in the wilderness of Alaska after he had eaten moldy seeds. Sooner or later, that mistake was enough to end his life....   [tags: Into the Wild Essays]

Better Essays
609 words (1.7 pages)

Into the Wild: The Tragedy and Triumph of Chris Mccandless Essay

- It is like a tag on a shirt that keeps bothering your tender skin, it is the reason why you rip the tag off and make your own choices while walking into the unknown land of the wilderness, striving for the adventure that has dire consequences if executed improperly. Walking the unknown land of Hades abyss might have taken the sensitive life of one man, but it was done in a blaze of glory with no regrets. This man of course is Christopher McCandless in the book, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, which is based on a true story....   [tags: Into the Wild Essays]

Better Essays
1105 words (3.2 pages)