Examples Of Transcendentalism In Into The Wild

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Into the Wild x Transcendentalism

While growing up, many young adults realize that they do not agree with what their family’s lifestyle represents and decide that they want to go off on their own and live differently. Similar to this, the main character in the movie Into the Wild, Chris disagrees with most of the things his parents stand for and how they live. Chris McCandless gets in his car after his college graduation and leaves a society that he dislikes to rely on his instincts while traveling the country all the way to Alaska, meanwhile he continuously objects people obsessing and focusing on materialistic things, showing that he embodies transcendentalism. After disappearing, Chris decides that he wants to go to Alaska and live off …show more content…

When describing his parents’ success with their business, Chris expresses his opinions on money. “But by the time the company actually made its first million, the careerism and money seemed only to embolden their blindness.” Not only does Chris resent money, but he resents his parents and their ignorance. The McCandless family was flawed. The family was unhappy and Chris’ parents were absorbed in money and belongings. Chris verbally addresses this in the movie at his college graduation dinner when his parents tell him their graduation present. “‘Why would I want a new car? Datsun runs great. Do you think I want some fancy boat? Are you worried what the neighbors might think?’” Chris was upset with his parents because they wanted him to have a nicer brand of car and used the excuse that his car was a “piece of junk,” saying they didn’t know when it would explode. In his opinion, it was a fine car and got the job done. Chris did not want a flashy car to show off to the neighbors. Even though Chris liked his car, towards the beginning of his travels, Chris was in a flood and he ditched his car in the desert. Chris ditches his car in the desert to purposely live a life without unnecessary objects. A year later, after his final preparations for Alaska, Chris hitchhikes to the wild. When he was getting out of the car, he accidently left some of his belongings in the car. …show more content…

As Ralph Waldo Emerson, a philosopher who helped lead the transcendental movement, said in his essay Self Reliance, ““...the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plate, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought.” This quote embodies transcendentalism and describes the necessity to be your own person. Chris McCandless is an independent man whose ideology is based off of transcendentalism, but he takes it to an extreme degree to which he believes in. Most people who are tired of society would not take off and live in the wild, but Chris believed in his ideas and stuck to his gut. Another famous transcendentalist is Henry David Thoreau. Chris read his books and quoted him often. In the piece Why I went into the Woods, Thoreau writes “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.” Similar to Thoreau leaving his lifestyle to live in a house slightly out of town, Chris changed his life so he could live, and eventually die knowing a lifestyle that made him feel free. Another quote by Thoreau that represents transcendentalism and Chris’ drastic lifestyle change is, “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say,

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