Thesis McCandless’s adventure is filled with ambiguity and missing details. He embarked on his adventure with little warning, his existence proven only by the his family and the small group of friends he made on his adventure. Seeming to share a similar personality, Ralph Waldo Emerson writes about the call of nature and fate. He writes about braving the elements, and McCandless seems to be the perfect spokesperson for Emerson’s work. Through his works on the deeper meanings of life, Emerson reveals McCandless’s reasons for leaving home, ranging from his views on the world, to his social behavior, to his intense desire to remain independent from the world.
“Snowstorm” McCandless’ outside relations from his new way of life have basically shaped the way he lives. He prefers living in solitude rather than in communities with other people. “Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed In a tumultuous privacy of storm” This quote can relate to Chris and his experiences with spending time with “hippies.” It shows overall how they all left lives that they once lived, and being with one another influences each of their journeys. “Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he For number or proportion” This quote talks about how he has no worries about what he is doing, where he is going, or who is with. His old life is of no importance to him, and he would rather live with nothing.
“The Day’s Ration” Although many of the people that knew Chris McCandless believed he was a very sociable person, Chris himself did not like being around the same people for long periods of time. Because of this, Chris was inclined to run off on adventures that risked his life. “Why need I volumes, if one word suffice? Why need I galleries, when a pupil’s draught After the master’s sketch, fills and o’erfills My apprehension?” This shows Chris’s views on wealth and how he feels that a person only needs the bare essentials. Chris gets rid of all of his belongings except the backpack he carries around the entire country, including Alaska. “Why see new men Who have not understood the old?” Chris reads Emerson, Thoreau, London and learns the ways of their thoughts. He then decides that he should not associate with those that don’t share the same views as him. Chris also strongly influences Ron Franz and tries to change his views to match his own.
“Self-Reliance” Based on Emerson’s work, we can see a strong focus on individual strength and succeeding without the help of others. This relates strong to McCandless’s immense conviction to achieve his goals without the help of others. “In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty” This relates to McCandless’s college life and how he did not enjoy it. He would rather be off exploring the wilderness, and he regretted this decision until it came back to haunt him. After college, he decided to embark on this epic quest, likely fueled by his regret of not having done it before. “There is a time in every mans education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide.” I think this is where Emerson really hits it home; with this extreme declaration that copying someone else is essentially killing your own personality, he establishes the ideal that it is absolutely necessary for one to have their own path. McCandless follows this path to the end, solely relying on himself and not attempting to achieve something for recognition. This was a journey he made for himself, by himself.
Fun Facts About Emerson He was a member of the Transcendentalist movement, which opposed conventional and limited thinking. This is very similar to McCandless since he disregards any thoughts about safety or wellbeing and goes on the journey anyway. He also did not get along very well with his father, similar to McCandless He also had a nickname: “the Sage of Concord”, because he was smart These similarities between Emerson and McCandless can attribute to some of the similar views that they share
Conclusion When we put together all this information, we can see that McCandless and Emerson shared a few views together. In his works, Emerson stresses being yourself and not letting other people control you. In his other pieces, there are other topics such as how there is no way to escape fate, which ties into McCandless’s inevitable journey. If he had not taken this journey, he would have been depriving himself of something that he truly was destined to do. I figure that Emerson would approve of Chris’s journey, since he promotes this type of deeper learning. Emerson often describes Chris’s life through his works by bringing up natural problems as well as personal ones. This allows the reader to not only experience Emerson’s work, but also to see McCandless’s journey with a whole new perspective.
Works Cited Emerson, Ralph W. "Snowstorm." Poems: New and Revised. Print. Emerson, Ralph W. "The Days Ration." Early Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York. Print. Emerson, Ralph W. "Self Reliance." Essays. 1841. Print. First. Mork, Rachel. "Fun Facts on Ralph Waldo Emerson." - Life123. Web. 06 June 2012. <http://www.life123.com/arts-culture/american-authors/ralph- waldo-emerson/fun-facts-on-ralph-waldo-emerson.shtml>.