Analysis Of Chris Mccandless's Life: Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Chris McCandless’s life serves as an excellent model for following Ralph Waldo Emerson’s idea of self-reliance. By claiming that “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature,” Emerson argues that the ability of an individual to impose their own self-restrictions demonstrates their ability to follow self-reliance. This concept seems logical as it uses the idea that generally, individuals stray from their moral codes instead of laws set by an outside force. The famous, controversial Milgram Experiment confirms this idea. Researchers in this study discovered that participants did not go against the orders of a Head-Scientist ordering them to continue with an experiment (an actor convinced the participants that continuing would endanger his life) if the Head Scientist stood close to the …show more content…
With this, the pressure to follow these rules diminishes as the threat of punishment from these figures appears more removed from our lives. Besides the Milgram Experiment, Chris McCandless’s life seems to prove and follow Emerson’s theory. In a letter to Ron Franz, Chris encourages Ron to “lose [his] inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life” (Krakauer 57). Implementing Emerson’s theory, the “monotonous security” represents society as the higher figure of authority imposing rules to pressure people into living a stagnant life (Krakauer 57). Chris’s encouragement for Ron to “adopt a helter-skelter style of life” in this instance demonstrates how Chris defies the laws set by society and favors the rules he sets for himself (Krakauer 57). Society’s distance from Chris allows him to easily disregard the standards set for him and pursue his own as advocated by Emerson. Given the need for rules to avoid unnecessary conflict and danger, Chris’s ability to govern himself without succumbing to the rules of society demonstrates his level of self-reliance.

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