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    The Views and Values of Transcendentalism in Into the Wild, a Book by Jon Krakauer

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    Transcendentalism reflects on one’s connection with nature and their view that society corrupts people and that people should live as simply as possible. Both Krakauer and McCandless represent this view of the world very well. Krakauer and McCandless are both prime examples of transcendentalist thought represented through their actions, thoughts, and motives.

    Both Krakauer and McCandless’s thoughts show strong transcendentalist views. Throughout Into the Wild, Krakauer mentions that McCandless would hate to receive gifts and never give out gifts to anyone else except on certain occasions. McCandless also hated money, saying that it corrupted people. Chris’s mindset sticks closely with the very definition of Transcendentalism because he knows that society and elements of society can corrupt people, so he tries to avoid that.

    Krakauer also represents elements of Transcendentalist thought, but not to the extreme that Chris McCandless does. John mentions says that in his youthful years, climbing was necessary to help him through post adolescent fog. He continues to say that “Life thrummed at a higher pitch. The world was made real.” John also states that everything in nature stood out more brilliantly. John’s mindset reflects another definition of transcendentalism: obsession with nature.

    In order to get away from the corruptness of society, transcendentalists go to nature. This goes with romantic ideals as well, because John is obviously intrigued and fascinated by the beauty of the natural world. These thoughts also lead to many of the crazy and bizarre things both Krakauer and McCandless do that lead directly back to a transcendentalist way of thinking.

    Motives are a big reason behind why Chris and John did what they did, and their motives can directly trace their roots back to the beginnings of transcendentalism itself. Henry David Thoreau had some of the same experiences as these two when he moved out to Walden pond to reflect on the simplicity of nature. His reason: to get away from societal elements of life.

    This is the same with many transcendentalist thinkers who live a life on the fringe of society so they are not corrupt. Both Chris and John had these same motives when they themselves planned far off trips to different parts of the country. Chris had especially taken these motives to heart when he went off to live in the wilds of Alaska for months. Motives played a huge role in designing the journeys that both McCandless and Krakauer embarked upon.

    What especially exemplifies the values of transcendentalism in both Krakauer and McCandless is their actions. Chris planned a massive trip to Alaska and embarked upon the great adventure, which would ultimately be his last. He was captivated by the nature and the lack of civilization in that region in Alaska and traveled up there for a truly spiritual experience. He got what he wanted, and though very weak and close to death, he could be seen smiling in a picture knowing that he had lived a fulfilling life. The obsession of getting away from and not conforming to societal rules and norms is astounding in Chris.

    McCandless also represented believing in the inherent goodness of mankind wherever he trusted some driver to take him to his next destination. McCandless was a very intelligent man and always exemplified transcendentalist roots in every effort he undertook. Krakauer was the same way. As a youthful mind, he was fed by nonconformist authors and had a huge passion for climbing. John planned and journeyed to Alaska for a different purpose: to climb the devil’s thumb. He was obsessed with it, and he knew that his climb of the thumb would forever change his life. His fascination with nature and the fact that he went and pursued his goals alone are true markers of transcendentalism in his veins.

    Transcendentalism occurs in every human, whether we like it or not. We are driven by our passions, fascinated by nature, and sometimes don’t want to conform to what society has to offer. Krakauer and McCandless took the lessons of transcendentalism to heart and those lessons, for better or for worse, forever changed the course of their lives. They took on their own challenges in ways that were fitting to them, and as a consequence, led a life more fulfilling. Both of these people are great examples of transcendentalist thought in the human sense and their actions will continue to affect other people time and time again.

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    The Views and Values of Transcendentalism in Into the Wild, a Book by Jon Krakauer. (2022, Dec 13). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-views-and-values-of-transcendentalism-in-into-the-wild-a-book-by-jon-krakauer/

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