Of Individualism In Henry David Krakauer's Into The Wild By Chris Mccandless

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Henry David Thoreau once said, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” McCandless easily relates to this as he went on an adventure with a hunger he had no means of fulfilling. Within a sea of naturalist and, opposing, transcendental texts, his ideology was not clearly defined even to himself. In the burrows of Mt. McKinley, Chris McCandless died of starvation in 1992. Many esteem his ideals, but controversy remains on whether his death was necessary. Despite Krakauer’s undeserved romanticism in Into the Wild, McCandless was not justified in shunning society in pursuit of individualism as he misinterpreted transcendentalist teachings and was fiercely ignorant, even in spite of Emerson’s and …show more content…
McCandless intentionally pulled himself out of society, severing ties with his family and friends. Though Henry David Thoreau did venture into the woods, his text explicitly notes, “nor did I wish to practice resignation” (Thoreau 1). Thoreau kept in contact with people, rarely commuting out to make visits. Correspondingly, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Nature” muses, “A man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society” (Emerson 1). McCandless did a well enough job of separating himself from society, but he made extreme decisions in cutting himself entirely. He cut off his parents and went city to city, leaving behind a trail of people. Transcendentalism did not, nor does it, express damaging social development as an imperative action. Chris McCandless ferociously misconstrued Emerson and Thoreau’s works. Transcendentalism cannot serve as a verification for McCandless’s decisions; he perverted the teachings into ones neither scholar would recognize. McCandless may have identified as a transcendentalist, but the actions he carried out find no defense in its teachings. Even a man who so blindly idolized him pointed out his separation from others. Krakauer expresses that McCandless opted to “[evade] the impending threat of human intimacy, of …show more content…
In “Walden”, Thoreau was just minutes away from Conquered, Massachusetts, with a band of supporters who knew where he was. McCandless, conversely, left his family in fear and confusion. Thoreau was prepared for the worst, whereas McCandless’s isolation made it so when the worst did occur, no one could come to his aid. Thoreau wrote, “It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things” (Thoreau 3). McCandless desperation for “enlightenment” led him to scramble through western America, searching without any means of finding answers. McCandless was not prepared for his environment because of the very desperate acts Thoreau advised against. His fervor to “right the wrongs” of his father led to a carelessness in his planning. Additionally, Ralph Waldo Emerson noted, “Use these pleasures with great temperance. For, nature is not always tricked in holiday attire…” (Emerson 2). McCandless emulated the idealization of nature and opportunely overlooked Emerson’s warnings. Emerson cautioned that nature was not always beautiful and appealing; it would not always care for those dwelling in it. A great deal of personal responsibility fell on those who went out into nature, even with the healing and harmony Emerson theorized. McCandless, it seems, ignored his personal responsibility in nature. Into the

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