Henry David Thoreau is one of the primary promoters of the transcendentalist movement and has been inspiring people to take on the transcendentalist lifestyle ever since the mid 1800’s. Mccandless was an admirer of Henry’s philosophy but he wasn’t as fully immersed in his work and ideals as Thoreau was to his own. His intentions were not as closely aligned to the movement as Thoreau’s and the difference between these icons are clearly visible. Self reliance is one of the most significant components of the transcendentalism movement that Henry David Thoreau contributed to in his literary career. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” - (taken from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden”).
Throughout history there has been a constant, man’s desire to experience new things. Two men that come to mind are Chris McCandless and Henry David Thoreau. Both men shared a similar reason for traveling into the wild. The differences in their journey’s that led to McCandless’s death and Thoreau’s success is the preparation and approach to the journey’s. Even though Chris failed on his journey he still was very much like Thoreau wanting to leave society in search for enlightenment.
Chris McCandless: A Reckless Idiot Chris McCandless was a reckless idiot and there is no denying that basic truth. Chris McCandless was a man born into a middle class family. Chris had parents that loved him, a roof over his head, and food to eat. Despite all those riches he had, he threw them away. Chris was a very selfish man.
For one, according to Johnson, Thoreau was an abolitionist and refused to pay taxes to support what he considered to be an immoral war. Thoreau’s wilderness venture was not to cut off contact with humanity, but involved society by knowledgably standing up against it. But Johnson does report, that the closest thing to Thoreau’s Walden is Krakauer’s Into the Wild. Thoreau had conducted an experiment involving self-sufficiency in a one-room cabin in Massachusetts, while McCandless was experimenting with his life. Thoreau’s “wilderness” was anything but, with ample necessities and close region to civilization.
I believe Shaun Callarman whom focuses on Chris McCandless is quite harsh in saying Chris had no common sense and saying that he does not admire him for his courage when Chris McCandless was a brave, wise and intelligent man. He knew exactly what he was getting into when he started his journey on going to Alaska. I think that he wanted to explore the wild and experience a different life other than the one he had. I disagree with Callarman saying McCandless was bright and arrogant at the same time. He had no business going to Alaska but that was his tactic for getting away from society. He made mistakes based on what made him happy. I admire him for his courage in taking action to get away from “plastic people”. Christopher McCandless (Alexander Supertramp) was not crazy, he just had big ideas.
The bold and brash approach on life by transcendentalists was truly an ambitious lifestyle. Such individuals like Henry David Thoreau, Chris McCandless, and Jon Krakauer have renounced all of their mainstream agendas to lead a more fundamental life, but not without the criticism other have faced. The actions portrayed in their novels demonstrate how important it is to incorporate others’ ideas when one’s own choices. As the world was in the midst of transforming, Henry David Thoreau yearned to yield away from the evolving world, as he considered them corrupt opportunists who are deprived of their true nature.
During the Transcendentalist movement, Henry David Thoreau was a leading transcendentalist whose work focused mainly on nature and adventure. Walden, or Life in the Woods is an exceptional example of a story based on adventure. In Thoreau’s account of his life at Walden pond, he first states, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Through this quote Thoreau explains that he was tired of the complexity of normal life and desired to go on an adventure to live simply. Additionally, Thoreau states, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…,” which again reveals his motivation for new life by adventure and simplicity.
By being in contact with the nature there is an ethereal feeling of knowing everything. The air you breathe is the purest of all; the sights you see are the goodness and freshness of the universe. In that moment the whole universe transpires to make that moment yours and you seem to move into a transcended stage of utter joy and serenity. Thoreau held deeply felt political views, opposing slavery and the Mexican-American War.
Society’s Creation Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that protests culture and society. Toward the end of Chris McCandless’s life he started to show many signs of a transcendentalist. Unlike Thoreau Chris was not in it for his love of nature, but to free himself from a corrupt world and a bitter society. " So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future." (Krakauer p. 57) McCandless and Thoreau both idealized the American wilderness and shared the same thought that living a less materialistic lifestyle would positively affect ones being.
Chris McCandless was a young man who left society behind entirely to fulfill his dream of the Alaskan adventure and escape the reality of life. After burning the last of his money and changing his name to Alexander Supertramp, McCandless migrated throughout the states and unfortunately was immensely unprepared for his journey; he only carried a ten-pound bag of rice, a small rifle, and a tattered road map. Consequently, McCandless dies due to his overconfidence and unpreparedness, which in turn makes everyone curious as to why he embarked on a journey while being so vulnerable. Arguably, Chris McCandless was a noble idealist who wanted abandonment from the falsehood of society and a feel of what nature could give.
He really innated the use of logos. They idea did not come across immediately but one the reader had though on the issue from some time the idea has become clear. He also used his writings as a tool to guide the way people think. Thoreau seemed more focused on reason; why is slavery wrong? Why should we give them freedom?
Chris McCandless was very adventurous, he liked being outdoors whether it was to hunt and fish or to be alone in nature. McCandless is also very compassionate to people who are hungry and poor. These are just a few characteristics that he shows throughout the beginning of the book.
Although many may argue that McCandless past served as primary motivation for his adventure, there is more evidence showing that he had his own differential feelings and has a different act to his everyday decisions that were chosen for himself. Starting off, how Chris McCandless’s childhood life probably had an affect to him to his life choices when he went into the wild. Referring back to documentary how not only did he have spoken about his past, but his siblings did along with his parents about him to how he was and the decisions he made and how it impacted him as to if what he chose to do. He knew that some even his own family would put their own view about himself as being a selfish person because he was just doing what he wanted for
Thoreau had the ability to isolate himself whenever he wished. He urges us to do the same. Thoreau’s philosophy may seem great, but it poses many threats in jeopardizing communities. For example, it could negatively impact economies.