Mccandless And Transcendentalism

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At one point in an individual’s life, they have likely fallen prey to the standards and expectations set upon them by society. In a world where being exposed to the opinions of others on a daily basis has become a commonality between most, it is seemingly impossible to escape this fate of conformity; however, certain individuals may have the capability of breaking free from this strong grip of societal influence through a nonconformist movement known as transcendentalism. While the rest of society is seemingly in constant distress by focusing on society’s expectations and thus magnifying the intensity of their problems, transcendentalists tend to look at the bigger picture and value the simplistic aspects of life. Transcendentalists, such as …show more content…
Essentially cutting ties with his old life, McCandless even renames himself as “Alex Supertramp” in order to avoid having his family track him down and to signify his very own “rebirth”. With the ideas of transcendentalism in mind, as well as Mccandless’ sudden renovation of his comfortable lifestyle, one could claim that there are direct relations between the transcendentalist philosophies of simplicity, nature, non-conformity, self-reliance, and confidence, and the nonconformist lifestyle of Christopher McCandless in Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. Less is more and simplicity is key: ideas in which both Henry David Thoreau and Christopher McCandless seem to live their lives by. When an individual considers what makes them happy in life, it seems as though their minds immediately look to materialistic and superficial ideas; however, these values in society can lead one to constantly wanting more, thus creating the mindset that no amount of money or fame is ever enough. As a result, transcendentalists strive to simplify their lives and thus expand upon their happiness rather than over complicating it with the brand new items constantly being endorsed by society and will hold meager value in a few years. These philosophies are exemplified in …show more content…
Transcendentalists typically find themselves in the wilderness, secluding themselves from the problematic aspects of living in society. These values are seen in “Nature” written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, a prominent writer during the time of the transcendentalist movement. While describing the positivity that emits from a natural environment, Emerson states, “In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,—no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground,— my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,— all mean egotism vanishes” (Emerson 373). Here, the living conditions of those who conform in the comfort of society is contrasted with that of one who exempts themselves from society to live in nature. While living with the rest of the world, remaining connected with society, just as comfortable as they are, they can just as easily be distraught by the different expectations and problems that society spreads. On the other hand, those who go out into the unexplored wilderness in solitude will feel nothing but life. Emerson describes being in nature as a sort of tranquil, meditative experience. Much like Emerson, McCandless also favors natural surroundings for similar reasons. Throughout the movie adaptation of Into the Wild,

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