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. The characteristics of transcendentalism is individual vs society and the connection between human and nature.
Jon Krakauer, Chris McCandless, and Henry David Thoreau reveal the philosophy of Transcendentalism. After reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and Henry David Thoreau’s excerpts from Walden, readers see that Transcendentalism plays an important role in Chris McCandless’s and Henry Thoreau’s lives. Chris McCandless and Henry Thoreau have similar beliefs in Transcendentalism. Both men adopt deliberation, individualism, and self-wisdom.
"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.”- Henry David Thoreau. Transcendentalism is an American philosophy that revolves around self-reliance and independence, commonly in nature, a Transcendentalist wants to find the true meaning in life. I believe that Chris McCandless was a Transcendentalist because he was able to leave his whole life behind and take on a minimalist lifestyle while having a strong relationship with god. However, I believe that I am not a Transcendentalist, but simply an adventurer. I had the opportunity to go to Mexico and visit the Yucatan rainforest and this lead me to be able to explore nature and feel the peaceful impact it can have on someone 's life.
Jon Krakauer, Chris McCandless, and Henry David Thoreau express the aspects of Transcendentalism in their three points of view. Transcendentalism is based on the belief that human beings have self-wisdom and may gain this knowledge or wisdom by how nature flows. It has three common themes: self-wisdom, nature and its meaning, and social reform. Chris McCandless’s life expressed in Krakauer’s Into the Wild is similar to the Transcendental beliefs of Thoreau’s Walden.
Chris McCandless looked up to Henry David Thoreau’s ideas in his Walden excerpt. John Krakauer went on to make McCandless’ journey a novel of its own. However, Chris McCandless and Henry David Thoreau’s ideas on how one should live their life didn’t always compare as much as contrast.
Chris McCandless and Henry David Thoreau are followers of the 19th century philosophy Transcendentalism. Transcendentalism is the belief that everyone has the wisdom in them to be one with God without having to go through a priest or be in a church. Transcendentalists base this philosophy on self-wisdom, nature, and social reform. Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild shows Chris McCandless’ choices and parallels to Henry David Thoreau’s transcendental beliefs from Walden.
A Transcendentalist is someone who wants to rise above society through the use of thought and spirit. Through their journey Transcendentalist typically isolate themselves from society not just physically but materialistically. By Definition Chris McCandless is not only a transcendentalist, but he was one of the greatest.
Transcendentalism is a philosophical and literary movement that emphasizes themes of nature and self-reliance while going against society and materialism. Many transcendentalists including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau are the creators of this movement impacting many others. Chris McCandles, the young and fearless main character, in Jon Jrakauer’s text Into the Wild, follows these transcendental leaders shown in his actions. Chris finds himself exploring throughout North America and reaching his goal to make it to Alaska. Like Thoreau, McCandles loves nature and finds it his “congratulation”, “greets everyday with joy”, and “follows his genius”.
McCandless has often been compared to Henry David Thoreau and without doubt McCandless was influenced by the transcendentalist movement but to compare these two people would be an insult to Thoreau and his philosophy. It is true that he displayed civil disobedience hitchhiking when it is not allowed, hoping freights, and hunting in Stampede Trail without a license; Chris’s father also points out that “He refused instruction of any kind” (Krakauer, Wild 111). He interprets “civil disobedience” as a rejection of any kind of imposed law expressing extremely individualistic ideals freeing yourself from society and power, but Thoreau considers his responsibility to break the law if it overrun the rights of other human beings and is against his judgement of morals rather than following the will of the government and the majority blindly.
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,
The novel Into the Wild written by Jon Krakauer centers around a young man named Chris McCandless who embarks upon an adventure leading to his tragic death; however, critics accuse McCandles of being naive and dumb, but on the other hand, he could be considered a transcendent. McCandless embodies transcendentalist thought by becoming one with nature and then ultimately withdrawing from the world and everyone in it. Throughout the novel, McCandless struggles by alternating between the two philosophies of transcendence, but ultimately he attempts to focus on self-regulation to make himself happy. Often to accomplish this task, he avoided the “impending threat of human intimacy” and avoids relationships by leaving quickly (55). Thus, McCandless,
Imagine living in a place where there is no stress, no mainstream society problems, just you, and your freedom. This is called living a transcendentalist life. Transcendentalism is an idealistic philosophical and social movement that developed in New England around 1836 in reaction to rationalism. 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. This is the life that Christopher Mccandless lifes by. Christopher McCandless proves he is living life of a transcendentalist when he lives in the wild, and choosing to leave the good society he had for him, burning all of his money only so he could keep what he actually makes. Christopher Mccandless follows the transcendental perspective when he isolates himself from loved ones as we see in solitude, living on his own hard worked money, finding new happiness, and enjoy nature for what is
Transcendentalists in the 1840s retired from their tasks and went to farms to look for the veracity of nature and to remove themselves from lives revolving around materialism, corrupted principles, useless labor and mainstream communities. Henry David Thoreau was one of these transcendentalists, as he privately retired from his work and retreated to the woods where he kept records of his discoveries on finding himself in nature. His findings more or less reflect the cultural characteristics a century later.
Henry David Thoreau is not only an American essayist, philosopher, the representative of transcendentalism in the Romantic Period of 19th century, but also an abolitionist and naturalist. But he was not famous for his lifetime until 20th century when the environment was becoming worse and worse, with his masterwork Walden