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Chris Mc Candless' Pursuit Of The Transcendentalist Dream

1029 words - 5 pages

Beliefs are what define humans not as a society, but as individuals. Individualism is a large part of Transcendentalism, which was a movement started in the mid-nineteenth century led by figures such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Into the Wild, written in 1997 by Jon Krakauer, is a modern novel that examines a transcendentalist young adult. That young man is Chris McCandless, who leaves his family at the age of 23 to live the Transcendentalist dream. He hitchhikes and travels through many rivers and cities to get to Alaska, the place where he believes he can finally experience that dream. Transcendentalism is the idea that humans are innately one with nature, and therefore God, and that nature is the only place where humans belong because society is poisonous. By enjoying himself and connecting with god through the environment in an isolated location, Chris McCandless demonstrates that he is a faithful Transcendentalist.
Because he is a true believer, Chris McCandless is a very spiritual person. Although he never states he is part of a specific religion, he believes in a some godly presence; an important part of being a Transcendentalist. In the end of the book, when Chris is near his inevitable passing, he writes a farewell note to anyone who finds his body. In his final note, he is very euphoric, and not at all regretful of his decision to venture into the Alaskan bush, “I HAVE HAD A HAPPY LIFE AND THANK THE LORD. GOODBYE AND MAY GOD BLESS ALL!” (199). Because he said he had a happy life, and that he thanks the lord, it is clear that Chris appreciates the spirituality within Transcendentalism. It takes true dedication and appreciation in Chris’s final moment to write about spirituality, which is why he includes an unspecific god in his note. However, god is only a way to objectify the spiritualism for Chris. Because he is elated to be in his dream environment, he looks for a vector to direct his bliss into. That spiritualistic action of praising a higher power is exactly the proof of why he is a dedicated believer. Being in nature and finding spiritual happiness is a key part in Chris’s belief structure, so a good Transcendentalist would find the same praise spirituality through nature. Therefor Chris is an equally dedicated Transcendentalist because of his spirituality.
Another indicator of Chris’s Transcendental dedication is not his spirituality, but the fact that he feels wholesome, pure and happy in nature. Ever since he was a boy, he would read books by Transcendentalist authors. Now, far from home at the age of 23, he rereads Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. He highlights an important passage to him within that book, writing NATURE/PURITY at the top of the page. The underlined passage is describing a woman “following the a path worn by pilgrims,” where she “rediscovered her life for a second” after taking a deep breath, appreciating the beauty that was “dearer to her than her kin” (188). The reason Chris...

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