“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because it is unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature” -Henry David Thoreau, Walden. In Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, a biographical account of Chris McCandless’s life, after graduating from college, 22-year-old McCandless decides to cut all ties from his family and hitchhike across America and live as simply as possible. At the age of 24, he dies on the Stampede Trail in Alaska while trying to live in the wilderness and survive on his own. His journey was inspired by many authors, such as Jack London, …show more content…
After graduating college, McCandless leaves his family and he sets off from Atlanta to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, located in the Detrital Wash in Arizona. He stays there for a couple of days, leaving because he believes a flood has ruined his car, which is unable to start. When McCandless is still at the Detrital Wash after the flood has occurred, he, “arranged all his paper currency in a pile on the sand...and put a match to it” (29). McCandless’s approach to life is very much of the one in which he rejects excess material possessions and money. The symbolism of sending up his money into smoke shows how dedicated McCandless is to Thoreau’s ideal of living free from the pull of society. He decides to live simply, like Thoreau, not only retreating into nature, but he also living a purer, simpler life. Without money and material goods, he is truly espousing Thoreau’s views, as he decides to not be beholden to anything. McCandless cuts ties with anything reminiscent to society, clearly viewing it unnecessary to live according to societal norms, as he believes - like Thoreau - that this makes the individual lose sight of what life is supposed to be like. Without any money, McCandless finally feels free. To focus on possessions is wrong, according to McCandless’s borrowed views on life. To live a life with true meaning, he must dispose of anything tainted by …show more content…
He off-roads his car while at the Detrital Wash, even though there are signs that say that off-roading is forbidden where he is. Krakauer says of McCandless after this occurs that, “as a latter-day adherent of Henry David Thoreau, [he] took as gospel the essay ‘On Duty of Civil Disobedience’ and thus considered it his moral responsibility to flout the laws of the state” (28). Like Thoreau, McCandless, too, thinks that government as a whole is something that truly binds and oppresses, and is a wholly unnecessary system. Government prevents Thoreau and McCandless from living the right life that is meant for everyone, so its rules must be broken. When they both decide to go against the government, it is solely because both think that government prevents the Transcendentalist lifestyle. This lifestyle, means that one is exempt from taxes or any other enforced laws and regulations, as a Transcendentalist disagrees with the very core of the state. So, under the guise of moral responsibility, civil disobedience is a way to act for their own personal gain. McCandless has a distaste for government, having strong views on various politicians, many of which he dislikes. His political leanings are reminiscent of Thoreau’s essay ‘On Duty of Civil Disobedience’, and can be summed up with, “ ‘I heartily accept the motto - ‘That
Christopher McCandless went into the wild looking for something that is not clear, according to Jon Krakauer in his book “Into the Wild” (1996). The people he met along his journey and the actions he did, describe him as a hubristic, mentally disturbed, survivalist. But not all of this is true. Some people believe he went in the wilderness because he was tired of his parents who wanted him to be the same as them but he believed money was “shameful, corrupting, and inherently evil” (115). We have clear that one of his motivations was the love of literature, trying to follow some of the authors he idolized, London and Thoreau.
Chris McCandless was smart, a straight A student, got accepted into Emory University, and decided to not apply his knowledge when he went into the wilderness of Alaska in 1992. Into the Wild, a biography written by Jon Krakauer, is about Chris’s story of after he graduated high school and went into the wild. Right after he went to high school, he traveled the country in his yellow datsun, met amazing people, and came back to finish college. After finishing college with a degree, he went hitchhiking across the country again and went into the alaskan wilderness, without ever coming back alive. Chris McCandless went into the wild unprepared with any good materials, he did not have a very good knowledge of what he was actually doing, and he left
McCandless based many of his actions on things he read by his role models. He developed an ideal society on the teachings of authors like Estwick Evans. Estwick Evans says, “I wished to acquire the...virtues of savage life; to divest myself of the...imperfections of civilization...and to find...more correct views of human nature” (Krakauer 157). McCandless, therefore, rebels against society in order to enjoy the savage life. Chris
Going out into the wild all by yourself can be nerve wracking and lonely. Jon Krakauer makes Chris McCandless seemed like a noble person who took the initiative to try to go out and live into the wild. The book Into the Wild written by Jon Krakauer, is about a teenager named Chris McCandless leaving society and traveling to Alaska by himself with nothing else but a bag of rice and a small .22 caliber gun. Chris is heroic because he went to Alaska by himself without any knowledge of Alaska and didn’t know any of the dangers of Alaska. One way Krakauer make Chris seem noble is when Chris is about to enter Alaska he tells Gallien “ I’m goin’ to get on up there live off the land,go claim me a piece of the good life” (Krakauer 4).
The key to deconstructing Thoreau's argument is to understand his hierarchy of government and the individual. Thoreau's ideal communion between the individual and the state is manifest by the individual as a "higher and independent power". This relationship is entertained in Civil Disobedience in the analysis of Thoreau's 1846 imprisonment, in which Thoreau demonstrated freedom as an internal and subjective
His persistence carries him through his journey into the wild, but also gives him trouble in later life when he gets a job at McDonald’s but leaves because they want him to wear socks while working (Krakauer 39-41). However, although McCandless has a few good morals, he lacks the belief of valuing family. This is evident when he states that, “I’m going to completely knock [my parents] out of my life… and never speak to either of those idiots again as long as I live” (Krakauer 64). McCandless’s beliefs give him a platform for his identity as a stubborn person that is hungry for something challenging, but also provides him with hardships and trouble along the
Into The Wild portrays a man who went on a fatal unforgettable journey through the alaska wilderness. Chris McCandless was a man with great courage and the ability to live on his own made him more of a hero going on his fatal journey. Many would say he was foolish or not thinking right, but that is not the case. The case here is simply a man with courage wanting to fulfill is beliefs through his journey. One may ask what is courage.
He refused to pay a government issued poll-tax for the Mexican-American war because it did not sync up with his beliefs (Thoreau). McCandless did not think that the government had any right to interfere with his personal needs. This further exemplifies McCandless’s ideal life of rebelling rather than
If he were living normally, he would most likely become bored and depressed. In a letter to his brother, McCandless writes, “I know that I could not bear the routine and humdrum of the life that you are forced to lead. I don’t think I could ever settle down. I have known too much of the depths of live already, and I would prefer anything to an anticlimax” (Krakauer 87). This means that McCandless would rather live an exciting life and would hate to live a normal one.
Was Chris McCandless a true transcendentalist? Transcendentalism is a system developed by Immanuel Kant, based on the idea that, in order to understand the nature of reality, one must first examine and analyze the reasoning process that governs the nature of experience. Influenced by romanticism, Platonism, and Kantian philosophy, it taught that divinity pervades all nature and humanity, and its members held progressive views on feminism and communal living. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were central figures. In Jon Krakauer’s novel, Into the Wild, McCandless is viewed as a transcendentalist.
Their beliefs led them to be unmoved by the feedback of their peers. Towards the end his novel, Thoreau remained an overly negative character whose beliefs remain unscathed in the social conflicts he endured. In a similar situation, McCandless shares the same ideals as Thoreau, as his literary collection noted quotes by Thoreau. Despite all of the people he met along the way, no one made a persuasion effective enough to change his mind or view on his transcendentalist views. Treadwell’s ideas can be used in comparison as he was very headstrong in his notions.
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”).
Kevin Sun Mrs. Cohen English 2CP --D February 22, 2018 Another Perspective The film Into the Wild is based on the life of Chris McCandless, a young man who rejected the consumerist society of America in order to live a more simple life. Through his travels, Chris carried essays by Transcendentalist philosophers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, suggesting that McCandless is impacted by Transcendentalist ideals. Two key tenets of Transcendentalism that clearly influenced McCandless’ choices are the value of simplicity and the importance of self-reliance.
Chris McCandless abandoned the modern world and chose the wild because he believed that he could improve himself through living in the wild, and found the true happiness of the life. McCandless abandoned his wealthy family because of his complicated relationship with his father, and he was ashamed with his father’s adultery. Therefore, McCandless believed that human relationship was not the only thing that forms happiness, instead a man’s connection with the nature brings joy as well. He also believed the habitual lifestyle was not what people were meant to do, and people shouldn't have more possessions than what they need. For this reason, McCandless traveled with little effects.
Christopher McCandless, whose life and journey are the main ideas of the novel “Into the Wild”, was about an adolescent who, upon graduating from Emory College, decided to journey off into the Alaskan wilderness. He had given away his savings of $25,000 and changed his name to Alex Supertramp. His voyage to Alaska took him two years during which he traveled all across the country doing anomalous jobs and making friends. He inevitably made it to Alaska were he entered the wilderness with little more than a few books, a sleeping bag and a ten pound bag of rice. A couple months after his first day in the wild, his body was found in an abandoned bus.