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Transcendentalism. This Essay Describes The Relations Of Transcendentalism And How It Relates To People Practicing It Today.

871 words - 3 pages


Tyler Wadhams

Transcendentalism is a philosophy that was first introduced in America by a group of writers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickenson. It became known through the writings of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thoreau wrote several books, including Walden Pond, which has influenced many people throughout the years. Even after the Transcendentalists, their ideas continue to inspire and affect others today. Ken Ilgunas, a student who attends Duke University, followed Thoreau's ideas to help him pay for college. Also Christopher McCandless, from the famous book and movie Into the Wild was inspired to live a different lifestyle.

Henry David Thoreau has made Transcendentalism very famous by taking it into his own hands. He used the idea of "stepping off the beaten path" and started to live in the woods. He thought that if people gave up their human obsessions, they would be able to transcend to a higher level of, well, everything. They would see the world through different eyes. They would eat differently, live differently, and even talk differently. Thoreau believes that people can survive off of the four basic essentials; food, shelter, clothing, and fuel. Thoreau also needed to use some money during his stay in the woods. He lived for two years and two months and used roughly 87 dollars. He lived roughly two miles from his original town and would occasionally visit for more supplies. But what Thoreau did was very different than that of Chris "Alexander Supertramp" McCandless, the protagonist from Into the Wild.

Into the Wild was based on a true story about a 22 year-old man who had just graduated from Emory University. After his graduation, he decides to give 24,000 dollars to Oxfam, nearly his entire life-savings. Then he set out on a cross-country trip to Alaska, ditching his car along the way in a flash-flood. He then burns the rest of his money and starts to live on the little that he has on his back. He meets people along the way who help him out. His trip to Alaska was a success where he lived in an abandoned van for over 100 days. Yet, on approximately the 112th day, Chris McCandless died from eating a poisonous wild potato root. Supertramp's experience was based on the philosophy of transcendentalism. Yet, his views differed from Thoreau's. Supertramp decided to give up on...

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