Romanticism In Into The Wild

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Romanticism was a movement during the late 18th century that encouraged imagination, exploration, individualism, and emotion. From it derived Transcendentalism, one of the first movements to originate from America and which bore the first American philosophers. These movements are often present in many pieces of American literature and this is no exception in Jon Krakauer’s novel Into the Wild. The historic account retells the story of a young man named Chris McCandless, who adopts the pseudonym Alexander Supertramp and takes to the road, only to die of starvation in Alaska. On the surface it appears to be cautionary tale, but Krakauer literally retraces McCandless’ steps, talking to the people who Chris spoke with and even traveling to Chris’ final resting place.…show more content…
After reading and examining the novel, the choices Chris McCandless made were due to his observation of the Romantic movement. Throughout the novel, Chris exhibits qualities of nature, manifest destiny, and idealism, therefore he is a Romantic. Chris is a Romantic because he fulfills the nature tenet. The majority of Into the Wild takes place in nature, which emphasizes the Romantic tendencies of Chris. An avid reader, much of Chris’ stringent ideology came from novels by authors such as Tolstoy and London. In one novel named Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, Chris underlines the words “refuge in nature” (Krakauer 189). By underlining those words, Chris stresses their importance to him. Since he wants to find “refuge”, Alex is seeking to leave or escape from somewhere, which is the indulgent society he has lived in for the entirety of his life. This aligns with “moving away from corruption, limits, and civilization” (Tenet Chart). Romantics prefer a life harmonious with nature in lieu of one submerged in a society that has an insatiable hunger for possessions. Chris also believes this and wants to leave society because he believes it is corrupt. He would often rant to his friends
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