Christopher Mccandless Transcendentalist Beliefs

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Even though the transcendentalist era took place 150 years ago, transcendentalism appears in our modern day society in many ways. In today’s world, our culture has become heavily reliant on technology and other privileges. For many, the idea of giving up one’s phone and spending time alone in nature does not sound appealing. For others, transcendentalist ways of living are more appealing than what society has designated as the norm. Christopher McCandless exemplified the transcendentalist ideals and beliefs of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau through the way he lived his life and his journey into the Alaskan Wilderness that ultimately ended his life. Because of his early life, McCandless chose to separate himself from society…show more content…
His parents lied to him until he graduated from high school about the truth of their marriage; McCandless’s mother was his father’s mistress when he was conceived. Because of this, he felt betrayed and drifted away from his parents. In order to “front only the essential facts of life,” like Thoreau suggested, McCandless gave up his wealth, comfort, and privilege. For example, when McCandless graduated from Emory University with honors in 1990, he could have done almost anything he wanted to do, but instead he gave his life savings, a total of $24,000, to the Oxfam charity. Soon after, he left quietly from home to begin his adventures and assumed the name Alexander Supertramp. If McCandless was asked by anyone about his family, he would reply that he did not have one anymore. McCandless wanted to separate himself from all of the rules of society and modern day distractions so that he could revel in the beauty of nature and live life by his own rules and intuition. He traveled around the states, and he challenged himself to travel with as little money as possible and the bare minimum of belongings. “No longer to be poisoned by civilization [McCandless fled], and [walked] alone upon the land to become…show more content…
Throughout his journey, McCandless preached and also lived out Thoreau’s teaching that “if you have built castles in the air, you work need not be lost; that is where they should be…now put foundations under them.” McCandless had always wanted to travel to Alaska, and he took initiative and did just that. He kept a journal along the way, and wrote about his own views on life. He believed, similarly to Thoreau, that if someone “[wanted] something in this life” they had to “reach out and grab it” (Christopher McCandless Quotes, Goodreads). McCandless stressed not to “hesitate or allow [one’s self] to make excuses,” and if someone wanted to do something, they should “just get out and do it” (Christopher McCandless Quotes, Goodreads). To say the least, Christopher McCandless wasn’t properly prepared to follow his dream of heading out into the wild on his own, and his death proves Emerson’s statement that “nature is no sentimentalist.” Christopher McCandless packed very little on his trip to the Alaskan wilderness. He had found an abandoned Fairbanks City Transit Bus numbered 142 on the Stampede Trail and decided to live there during his time in the wild. Squirrels, porcupines, small birds, mushrooms, roots and berries made up McCandless’s diet. After living in the wild for some time, McCandless became

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