The Transcendentalist : Christopher McCandless Into the wild

The Bus Chris McCandless lived in for a short period of time when he was in Alaska.

Christopher McCandless

February 12, 1968 - August 1992

Christopher McCandless was born on February 12, 1968 in El Segundo, California. His parents are Billie McCandless(mother) and Walt McCandless(father). He has one sister Carine McCandless who he was very close with. Chris loved hiking and also went by another name "Alexander Supertramp". He started hiking to various places after his graduation from Emory University in 1990. His last hiking journey was to Alaska that he died in August, 1992.

The Transcendentalism Book Into The Wild

"Transcendentalism is an idealistic philosophical and social movement that developed in New England around 1836 in reaction to rationalism. Influenced by romanticism, Platonism, and Kantian philosophy, it taught that divinity pervades all nature and humanity, and its members held progressive views on feminism and communal living. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were central figures."

This novel Into The Wild written by Jon Krakauer is a modern piece of Transcendentalism about the transcendentalist Chris McCandless traveling into the wild. Chris's childhood was full of his parent's arguments and fightings, and resulted in him wanting to go out to the nature, to find peace, and freedom. Throughout his journey he has met many people that have influenced by him: Jim Gallien, Wayne Westerberg, Jan Burres, and Franz Ronald. These people told the society about Chris after his death in August, 1992 in Alaska discovered inside the bus 142. Jim Gallien talked to Chris, who was using Alex as his name, when Chris was hiking in Alaska and gave him a ride to the Denali Park. Also Gallien remembers Alex is determined and can't wait to go out there, into the wild. Before Alex had head out to Alaska, he met Wayne Westerberg and Jan Burres who gave a lot of information about him. They both commented that Alex was intelligent, hard-working, dutiful, and reads a lot of books. Later, shortly before Alex is going into Alaska, he stayed at Franz Ronald's house for a while and influenced this old man very much. In Alex's last letter to Franz, Alex advised Franz to "adopt a helter-skelter style of life", in which Franz took it to heart, and moved out to the wild. However, Alex was never heard of afterward until he was discovered by 6 hikers coincidentally.

How McCandless connects to Transcendentalism Pieces

"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men, - that is genius." from "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson. This corresponds to Chris since he is very intelligent since his childhood, he started copy business when he was only 12. In his junior year, "Chris was hired by a local building contractor," and received an offer from the owner. However, "as soon as high school was over; Chris declared, he was going to get behind the wheel of his new car and spend the summer driving across the country."

During Chris's high school, he was the captain of the cross country. A member of the team commented that, "He was really into pushing himself." Kris Maxie, a close friend of Chris said that, "Chris was really serious about running. I can remember standing at the finish line, watching him run, knowing how badly he wanted to do well and how disappointed he'd be if he did worse than he expected. After a bad race or even a bad time trial during practice, he could be really hard on himself." These comments made by Chris's high school friends showed Chris will try his best for everything, including running and his hiking dream. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson from Self-Reliance, "A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best."

"That government is best which governs least." taken from "Civil Disobedience" by Thoreau is a motto Chris heartily accepted. Chris once said when he met Gallien that "How I feed myself is none of the government's business. Fuck their stupid rules." This showed he was really influence by Thoreau and therefore he choose to living off by himself in the wild.

Created By
Menglin Jiang


Created with images by Ian D. Keating - "Tracy Arm Fjord Entry - Alaska" • Paxson Woelber - "Byron Peak, Alaska" • kevin dooley - "Google Street View – Pan-American Trek – The Beauty of the Dalton Highway, Alaska" • Paxson Woelber - "Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying" • Madeleine_H - "The replica of the school bus that Chris McCandless lived in, this one was used for the filming of Into the Wild"

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