Chris McCandless’ Similarities to Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that revolved around the works and ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The transcendentalist wrote about his discoveries while studying philosophy, religion and literature. In Emerson’s collection of essays, Nature, he stresses the concept of finding one’s own personal understanding of the universe. In another one of Emerson’s works he presents the over-soul-- which goes into deeper detail of the unity of God, man and nature. Chris McCandless, the protagonist of the novel Into the Wild, written by Jon Krakauer, tells the story of a young male who elects to leave his upper-middle class life and travel the United States . Chris McCandless was heavily influenced by Emerson and became a living example of Emerson’s works. Chris McCandless did not like materialistic items. He was interested in nature and surviving off the elements. He was attracted to the concept of change . McCandless stated, “The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun” (McCandlesss #). What McCandless meant in this statement is man needs to step outside their comfort zone. You can’t settle for easy. That’s exactly what Chris did when he deserted his social life-- completely destroying any trace of himself for the police or his parents to
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