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Christopher Mccandless: The Father of Transcendentalism

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The author, Krakauer, introduces each chapter with a quote because it gives the reader an understanding of what Chris McCandless read and how he interpreted it. The quotes were all Chris’s favorite authors and they probably impacted the way Chris thought. The quotes makes the reader think about why Chris did a specific action or what inspired his actions in the book. In the epigraph that author calls the wild “a desolation, lifeless, without movement. In the chapter, the land were Chris traveled to could go “six or seven months without seeing a bus or seeing a human visitor”(10). This shows how Chris was living in the wilderness like the books the author described.

This allows the readers to form an opinion of Chris at the beginning at the book and then justify our opinion with the information we are given as we read the book. The non-chronological order gives us information we wouldn’t of taken into consideration if the book was in order. This allowed us to have certain opinion mind after Chris has done his actions. This allowed me to sympathize with Chris because I think he has a reason for all his actions. One of the drivers that drove Chris called him “dandy and real courteous”. At the beginning of the book Chris seems really selfish for going out in the wild unprepared.People described him as “ignorant and ill-prepared” and this was the cause of his death. By the end of the book I could reason with Chris and understood his actions. Because the book tried to show us what Chris was thinking and was inspired Chris to think like that.

Сhris McCandless changed his name because he wanted to find himself through the transcendentalism experience. He wanted to truly separate himself from society because he felt like if anyone knew where he was they could come and help him. He wanted to be as independent as he could.He goes by his legal name when he has to face the law. When he got in trouble with an officer he decided to “give his parents Annandale address” because he didn’t want to argue with the officer. There are times when there was no choice, but to use his real name.Like when he got taxed for his job or when he gets stopped by officers for something illegal.

Chris is very thankful for Wayne Westerberg because he gave him a job when he was desperate for one. The grain elevator allowed for Chris to find a job that aligned with his transcendentalist beliefs.Chris was always very thankful toward Wayne. In the book it states,”one day I’ll repay some of your kindness”. Although he thought Wayne paid him too much he made a friend that he could rely on. Jan Burres was the wife of Bob and both of them took Chris under their wing. They lost their child and Chris reminded them of him. Jan said that “ she had a son about the same age” and that Chris reminded him of her son”. I think that the couple helped Chris because they saw their son in him. Ronald Franz adored Chris and liked him liked his own child. Franz also was very inspired by Chris and listened to all the advice Chris would give. Franz was”just happy knowing he was there”. It seemed that Franz was happy to have company like Chris with him. Although Chris may seem selfish to his close family and friends, he was thankful to the people that helped him on his transcendentalist journey.

I am more sympathetic towards him because I felt like he was being held back by his family. Although, what he did was dangerous, he followed what his heart. The readers were supposed to understand his parents and sister’s feelings, but I feel like they were not considerate to Chris’s feelings. Chris was closer to his sister and I felt bad for her because they grew up together. Carine his sister stated that when they woke up “they’d be in the office working”, when they got home from school and went to bed “they’d be in the office working”. The lack of the parent’s presence made the two siblings have a closer bond.I think at first Chris felt uncomfortable with his parents because they wanted him to live the lifestyle that he didn’t want.When Billie and Walt started to earn money they would take the kids on expensive trips and Billie knew that Chris “was embarrassed by all that”. Chris wanted to live a modest life, but his parents wanted to life a comfortable life. When he got older it only seemed like his parents were holding him back without listening to him. I think Chris got tired of the structured lifestyle and was looking for something that could find him happiness. One of his classmates said by his sophomore year of college Chris was “introverted, almost cold”. He was getting sick of how repetitive college was.

The reader was talking about how overconfident Chris was and that he thought he was way more important than he actually was. He was not modest about how he should of lived his life. I disagree because we do not know what Chris was thinking when he went into the wild. He could have been trying to prove something to himself. In his letter that he sent his friends, Burres and Westerburg, he only had thanks for his friends. There were worlds like “you are a great man” and “it was great knowing you”. He was thankful for everyone that helped him. If he wasn’t thankful he wouldn’t have sent them postcards, but he sent his friends postcards periodically.

 I think the author’s goal was informative. The author did not say anything bad personally about Chris’s adventures. Krakauer presented both sides of the story and allowed the reader to form their own opinion. I don’t we should be sad for Chris, but to keep Chris’s story in mind. Chris’s adventure could be seen as a success or a failure. Chris may of thought his adventures through the wild made him fulfilled and his family may of seen as a failure because he died. His parents said, “how is it that a kid with so much compassion can cause so much pain”. His parents saw his trip as a failure because he was not able to come back home.

I think Chris is respectable. Chris knows what he wants and will achieve it. I think it is important to know what you want in life because otherwise you will feel like your life has no purpose. I don’t think Chris is selfish because he knows when to thank people that helped him. Chris is just very stubborn. When he ran cross country “he was really hard on himself” when he did not perform as well as he thought he could. Krakauer is not sympathetic, but understanding of Chris. I am sympathetic to him because I think he was unlucky that he died while he was trying to complete something he always wanted to do.

Chris’s Transcendentalist thoughts conflicted with his last diary entry because transcendentalism is when you are self-reliant and independent, but his last diary entry talks about him wanting to spend time with other people. In the end, I think that Chris wanted someone to help him because he knew he was helpless in his situation. He knew that no-one would come save him and he wanted to spend his last moments happy. During his quest of transcendentalism I think he realized that he was searching for something he already had with his family and friends, but unfortunately he realized this too late.

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Christopher Mccandless: The Father Of Transcendentalism. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from
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