Chris Mccandless Individualism

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In the early 1990’s, Chris McCandless left his whole life behind to carry out a transcendental lifestyle. He hitchhiked up the entire West Coast, all the way to his final destination in Fairbanks, Alaska. Transcendentalism is a philosophy that has had a heavy impact on many people, including Chris McCandless, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. These men shared the belief in the importance of individualism, simplicity, and exploration, which molded McCandless’s experience into a dramatic and fatal journey. Arguably the most major principle of transcendentalism, individualism is what drove McCandless to get away from the life he knew. He became exhausted by the constant pressure of matching his parents’ success, and sought to pursue…show more content…
Having dealt with the pressure from his parents from a young age, McCandless grew more and more embarrassed of his family’s wealth and “believed that wealth was shameful, corrupting, inherently evil”(Krakauer 115). He later burned all his money and believed strongly that “it looks poorest when you are richest”(Thoreau 9), meaning large amounts of money leave a person feeling empty, which influenced McCandless to travel very lightly at all times. This proved to be a challenge which McCandless would have to overcome after meeting and developing friendships with so many people. Ron Franz was one man who gave McCandless a particularly difficult time in keeping his baggage light. Franz thought of McCandless as a son, and cared deeply for him, but because McCandless was trying to keep his “affairs...as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand”(Thoreau 3), he kept a distance between himself and Franz, being careful to not become too attached to him. After meeting people all over the coast, he made it to Alaska and “was relieved...that he had again evaded the impending threat of human intimacy, of friendship, and all the messy emotional baggage that comes with it”(Krakauer 55). Although he kept his load light, loneliness turned out to be McCandless’s biggest regret at the end of his life, when he had run out…show more content…
These values were at times harmful to McCandless and the people in his life, but overall, he lived a fulfilling life and was able to make a lasting impact on many people. This journey offered McCandless the ability to meet new people and change their lives, and find new places to change his own life. Although his time in the wild came to an unexpected end, transcendental ideals had a generally positive impact not only on McCandless’s human experience, but those of the people whose lives he
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