From Nature is a work of transcendentalism by popular transcendentalist author Ralph Waldo Emerson. Similarly, Into the Wild is a work of modern transcendentalism. Due to this affinity, there are various quotes from From Nature which relate the the story of Chris McCandless. In From Nature, Emerson writes, "The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence." This quote directly relates to Chris McCandless. McCandless too believed that nature would influence those who open their mind to it. This was one of the reasons he went on his odyssey. He went to open his mind to nature & let it influence him.
Self Reliance, another work by the beloved transcendentalist author Emerson, also closely relates to Into the Wild. In Self Reliance, Emerson writes, "What I must do, is all that concerns me, not what the people think." This is Emerson's way of saying that he will live his life according to his rules. McCandless followed this philosophy as well. McCandless did not care what those around him thought when he cut off communication with them. He did not care what the people he met along the way of his journey thought he should do. He did what he needed to do to feel fulfilled. He lived according to his own decree.
Civil Disobedience is an account of the night prominent transcendentalist author, Henry David Thoreau, spent in jail. Thoreau is sent to prison for refusing to pay his taxes. Thoreau only refuses to pay because he feel sit is unfair that the average citizen must pay taxes, but that the church does not have to. About this, Thoreau writes, "Some years ago, the State met me in behalf of the Church, and commanded me to pay a certain sum toward the support of a clergyman whose preaching my father attended but never I myself. "Pay," it said, "or be locked in the jail." I declined to pay." This shows that Thoreau feels so strongly about the belief that everybody is equal that he was willing to be thrown in jail for it. Similarly, McCandless believed that ever human being was equal as well. He thought that all human life was created equally & thus, should be treated that way.
Another work of transcendentalism by Thoreau is Walden. Walden tells the story of Thoreau going to live off the land. Thoreau writes, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, ad not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." This sentence is nearly the exact reason McCandless left on his journey to Alaska. McCandless wanted to learn from the land & live off only what nature provided.
In the Emily Dickinson poem, "Much Madness is divinest Sense," Dickinson writes, "Assent-and you are sane- / Demur-youre straight away dangerous- / And handled with a Chain-" Dickinson tells here how society thinks you insane if you didn't follow their normalized ways. McCandless felt this way as well. He knew that society looked at him as odd for abandoning all his material possessions, but he didn't care. Despite the way society looked dow upon him, he continued to live the way that he wanted.
In the Walt Whitman poem, "When I Heard the Learned Astronomer," Whitman writes the line, "In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, / Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars." This line is about taking the beauty of the world around you. McCandless was clearly a big believer in taking in the nature around you. As McCandless journeyed, he experienced many, many beautiful works of nature.
McCandless' sisters return to his Alaskan home & share their thoughts.
A quick explanation of what happened to Chris McCandless.