Jon Krakauer’s Expression of Individualism and Transcendentalism in into The Wild

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About this sample


Words: 1774 |

Page: 1|

9 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

Words: 1774|Page: 1|9 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

Most teenagers today have difficulty with finding who they truly are or trouble with developing who they are from lack of attachment to parents, low self-esteem, absence or negative influence of adults, and lack of acceptance in a positive peer group. Society tells us to just be ourselves, whether it is talking to someone you have a crush on or going into a job interview. While society may be giving us good advice, it might not feel like it is our true selves. When we are talking about who we are, it is basically how that particular person perceives thier behaviors, abilities, and unique characteristics. When today’s society can implement these things into their lives they can be more happy and live better lives when we truly know who we are. We can boost confidence and be more courageous. It all comes down to a mindset, and how we put ourselves into positions. With this being said Jon Krakauer is someone who not only writes about a person who had found who they were, but he has found it in himself as well. Jon Krakauer uses psychoanalytical conflicts in “Into the Wild” to express individualism, amplify self-reinvention, and emphasize transcendentalism.

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Individualism is something people can try to find in life but can also struggle with due to not being confident or just not being able to bring themselves to achieve it. “My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it.”(Krakauer 46). Individualism is something that Jon Krauker finds within himself and believes that McCandless found on his adventures in “Into the Wild”. Sometimes you may wait or others may wait on someone else or something to start that new journey or find what makes them unique. When Jon Krakauer wants you to know with that quote is that you do not necessarily need an outside motivation or force to find your real self. Going to reach out and find that sense of individuality can create opportunities and a new way to look at life.

Part of individualism is sometimes taking a risk. It may not seem appealing or something fun but the risk is something that Jon Krauker really does have hindsight in. He has written in a book about climbing Mount Everest and some challenges take risks, but it all builds character. “make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future”Some risks of McCandless, the main character from “Into the Wild” were, leaving his beloved and hard-earned car he always wanted in the desert. He strategically did this to make sure his journey and adventure across the country wouldn’t end from his family or police finding out and potentially stopping him.. Another example is McCandless’ whole idea of even leaving his family and everything he owns to go on this journey. This can be attributed to this type of risk factor he has about him. With his actions like these, he really exalts this type of courage and trust within himself which ultimately helps develop his character over time. (Krakauer 45). In this letter, this is McCandless explains that sometimes you may have to go through things that you may not feel like or think about doing because of whatever circumstances there may be. It explains in a little bit more detail his reasoning behind his motives and beliefs of what and why he did these things. The ultimate risk was McCandless making the decision to leave everything behind and go on the adventure across the United States and more. Without this, the whole reason for Jon Krauker writing this point of view and explanation of this adventure and amazing story would not have happened.

Along with McCandless, Krauker also loved being in nature. His view on transcendentalism was outstandingly strong. Transcendentalism is how someone connects with nature and how they view society. Sometimes they feel they need to extortionate people and that people should live as simply as preferably possible. While Krakauer represents this outstanding view of the world he shares this with McCandless. Krakauer and McCandless are both great examples of transcendentalists who both represent this with their actions, thoughts, and motives. The ideas of both Krakauer and McCandless present a strong transcendental view. In the wilderness, Krakauer states that McCandless hates receiving gifts and never gives gifts to others except in certain circumstances. Chris’s thinking strictly follows the definition of transcendentalism, knowing that society and social elements can corrupt people. Therefore, he tries to avoid doing so. Krakauer also represents an element of transcendental thought, but it is not as extreme as Chris McCandless. John states that he needed to climb during his teens to help in the fog. Jon also states that everything in nature stands out more brilliantly. Jon’s thinking reflects a different definition of transcendentalism: his obsession with nature is on a personal level from an early age so he grew into it very naturally. Transcendentals naturally enter in order to escape the basicity of society. This also fits into a romantic ideal, as John is clearly fascinated and fascinated by the beauty of nature. These ideas also lead to many of the bizarre and bizarre things that both Krakauer and McCandless do, which leads directly to transcendental thinking.

With McCandless leaving this brought many opportunities to really test his real meaning and strength to go against the material things in life. Jon Krakauer writes about how the “materialistic” things in life don’t really affect happiness. McCandless also said, “he would shortly donate all the money in his college fund to OXFAM America, a charity dedicated to fighting hunger.” (Krakauer 19). What this is saying is that he does not care about the materialistic things in life. He gave all his money from college to people in need. This also shows his selflessness and character. He does not need things such as money, cars, or fancy materials to achieve his pure happiness.

Going into this mindset of becoming himself he needed to be isolated. He felt at one with nature and was able to connect with it. What isolation does is when people are with themrselves and themselves only, they can experience things that are eye-opening but mainly discover parts or characteristics they may have been hiding within themselves without a way to exalt them. “It is true that many creative people fail to make mature personal relationships, and some are extremely isolated. It is also true that, in some instances, trauma, in the shape of early separation or bereavement, has steered the potentially creative person toward developing aspects of his personality which can find fulfillment in comparative isolation.”(Krakauer 49).

With isolation, there will be a time a self-reflection, and overall the whole point of finding your true self might be having to reconstruct yourself. Self-reinvention is something that can tie back into your mental train of thought and your whole lookout and perception for life. Jon Krakauer makes this kind of mental reflection and self-fortitude on actually reinventing your personality the way you really want it to be. McCandless did change his name which is a part of self-reinvention. He changed his name to Alex instead of Chris. This is why when writing, his name, is referred to him as just McCandless because it is easier than to say Chris or Alex and then explain. When someone changes their name, it completely changes the person that they are. Without a name, there is no person to put things to or a different person that has a totally different background. Without self-reinvention, you may never get to experience the real person you are meant to be.

Jon Krakauer was born April 12, 1954, in Brookline, Massachusetts. Krakauer is a famous American authorwriter and mountaineer. He writes famous and best-selling non-fiction books including — Into the Wild; Into Thin Air; Under the Banner of Heaven; and Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman — also writing a number of magazine articles. He was a member of a fateful expedition to summit Mount Everest in 1996, one of the deadliest disasters in the history of climbing Everest. Jon Krakauer was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, as the third of five children. His father Lewis Joseph Krakauer was a Jewish man, and his mother Carol Ann Krauker was a descended Scandinavian Unitarian woman. From the age of two Krakauer was raised in Corvallis, Oregon. Kraukers father introduced him to mountaineering at around the age of eight. His father was relentlessly competitive and ambitious in the extreme and placed high expectations on Krakauer, wishing for his son to attend Harvard Medical School and become a doctor, ‘life’s one sure path to meaningful success and lasting happiness.’ He played tennis at Corvallis High School and graduated in the class of 1972. He then went on to become a student at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, where he received his degree in Environmental Studies in 1996. In 1977, he met a former climbermountaineer Linda Mariam Moore and asked her to marry him in 1980. They lived in Seattle, Washington, but moved to Boulder, Colorado, after he released and published Krakauer’s book, “Into Thin Air”. This book is about Jon Krakauer’s point of view and perspective on reaching the top of Mount Everest which was a huge accomplishment, but it came with some very traumatizing events.

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In the mind of humans, young adults are taught to dream big. Maybe all society today needs to do is dream with the purpose of what the individual really wants. Society can be fearful, but this is what drives the outliers to become different and be great to achieve multiple accomplishments. Without fear, change never happens, and without change, life passes by. Jon Krakauer writes in a psychoanalytic way and implements transcendentalism by showing that connecting with nature can help with finding peace, exemplifies that self-reinvention can be a way to help with finding inner personality, and prioritizes individualism as the main demonstration for finding the true identity people today. Not just in writing but in life, society can be the real and most likable version of themselves.

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Jon Krakauer: Into The Wild. (2022, December 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 17, 2024, from
“Jon Krakauer: Into The Wild.” GradesFixer, 10 Dec. 2022,
Jon Krakauer: Into The Wild. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jun. 2024].
Jon Krakauer: Into The Wild [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Dec 10 [cited 2024 Jun 17]. Available from:
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