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The Life of Chris McCandless: Discursive Essay

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The style of Chris McCandless’s life represents the theory that Thoreau mentioned in his book called Into the Wild. Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” had an obvious effect on Chris’s life. The fact that Chris didn’t renew his License plate and just didn’t want the government to regulate his life and make him follow the rules like everybody else and to protect his personal values and his freedom. Thoreau is the same because he despised the government and the human-made laws they made, Thoreau advocated for higher laws and for personal ethics based in conscience. Chris was living Thoreau’s theory, making it a guide and inspirational for his difficult journey and heading to the path of the truth of what freedoms mean, which would lead to his horrid death. Chris McCandless life was very strongly influenced by Henry David Thoreau book called Into the Wild, but Chris McCandless action was mainly dictated in one thing that Thoreau talks about which was “Civil Disobedience’’, which prescribe for the search of freedom and the love for nature, and as well for a life that is lived by Chris own of personal accord.

Within “Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau said that “All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right of revolution; the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case. But such was the case now, they think, in the revolution of ‘75.” (Thoreau 3) We can see that Thoreau’s attitude is that people should consider doubting the power of the government policies and reject it if it is not beneficial. Chris had the behaviors indicating Thoreau’s opinion. For example, when his car broke down or ran out of battery, Chris had to ask for help from the jurisdiction. Although, Chris soon realized that he will have to answer the questions as “why had he ignored posted regulations and driven down the was in the first place? Was he aware that the vehicle’s registration had expired two years before and had not been renewed? Did he know that his driver’s license had also expired, and the vehicle was uninsured as well?”(Krakauer 28) Chris for sure did not want to be disturbed by these questions, which would devastate his hike. Chris felt that the regulations were incapable of tramps. It was a process of doubting the policies and Chris got tired of the stupid rules.

In one of the passages, Krakauer talks about how McCandless found the truth in transcendentalism. The first thing Chris did was abandon his family, and the people who were very close to him. This was one of the first steps of becoming a Transcendentalist because people who believed in this thought that human interactions/relationships interfered with the ability to truly connect with nature. Chris also started to act very moody and vague with the people he met or hitchhiked, making sure to avoid making a connection with them. Chris even said, “You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only…from human relationships. Gods have placed it all around us…and all you have to do is reach for it.” (Krakauer 79)

Chris McCandless was a talented college graduate who leaves his family, friends, and all the nice comforts of civilizations in a mission to find the meaning of freedom. On the cover of the Into the Wild the readers were already given the information that Chris died, and another thing is that we get to know that McCandless had donated his money to charity, Krakauer reports how Chris burns the remaining cash he has “in a gesture that would have done both Thoreau and Tolstoy proud” (Krakauer 29). When Krakauer addresses and explains his relationship between Chris and his parents, Krakauer illustrates the kind of strict moral code by which Chris measures himself with. Chris had an attitude that made it seem as if it was obvious that nature was his happy place and escape from society. He honestly didn’t have any time to make any friends with anybody even though technically he did still. He just knew it would interfere with his journey. Leaving behind his possessions such as his car and money leads to more opportunities to depend on his surroundings.

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It’s clear that Chris McCandless is very dispassionate towards society and socializing. Chris only sent letters to the people who helped and supported him throughout his journey. McCandless makes it very evident that he wants nothing to do with his parents or anyone, normally speaking, Chris wants to go to Alaska to live a new life for himself. Chris has been planning to go into the wild to isolate himself from society so that he can finally live the new life since he left Atlanta. Even though McCandless met so many people that helped him throughout his journey to Aleska, he never really had intended to stay with them even though they asked him too. It was very unclear to a lot of people what his motive was that led him to carry out these activities, but a lot of them shows evidence of Chris McCandless becoming a dreamer.

In one of his passages in the book by Thoreau, he talks about him isolating himself from society by going to the wood of Walden Pond for two years was one of his reasons so that he can understand what life had to offer to him and live a purposeful life. Because Thoreau is a dreamer like Chris and he believes self-reliance, his actions also set an example of self -reliance by relying on himself to live rather than relying on others. Furthermore, Chris McCandless’s action is also like Thoreau’s in the way that being a dreamer may play a role. For instance, McCandless Isolates himself from everybody including his family and friends and still plans on going to the woods in Alaska to live a new life by himself and only eats the food from nature such as berries and fish. These similarities between them make it very convincing clear that McCandless could have possibly been a dreamer and enthusiast.

Chris McCandless talks about how Thoreau is one of his inspirations and Thoreau’s quotes are interspersed throughout the book by McCandless and Krakauer. Thoreau’s best work in his book “Civil Disobedience” has to be the essay Civil Disobedience, reading this essay provided us information of what Thoreau’s teaching was and the development of Chris McCandless’s philosophy. Chri’s relationship with the government and money reflects on Thoreau’s; they both saw themselves as human beings and was forced out by the immorality rampant in organized society.

Throughout Into the Wild, Chris McCandless goes through all the process of disconnecting himself from the society-shedding his social identity, name, donating all his money, and removing all of society comforts and earthly possessions. Chris saw that he had to remove himself was necessary to move, even though fought and protested against a very corrupted system that he didn’t believe in. Instance Thoreau spent a great big deal in the world, Chris respited the society that lived in the untamed world. Chris and Thoreau both take a very different approach to social discontent. The view that Chris and Thoreau had in “Civil Disobedience” is somewhat of an aspect of a protest in the American Culture. All of these pieces of information illustrate McCandless action’s toward the government. Chris and Thoreau’s actions toward the government were very rebellious but each person had a meaning in why they did what they did, they believed that there should be no restraint to a person doing what they wanna do in life and should be free and be able to find the true meaning in freedom.

Work Cited

  1. Fullerton College Course Catalog: 2018-19. Fullerton College, 2018. Fullerton College. 12 Sept. 2018,
  2. Krakauer, Jon. “Into the Wild” Villard, Edited by Jay Cassidy, Jon Krakauer, 1996, pp. 1-207
  3. Thoreau, Henry David. “Civil Disobedience” Civil Disobedience. Edited by Robert Bly, Henry David Thoreau, 1849, pp. 1-18.
  4. Thoreau, Henry David. “Walking” Civil Disobedience. Edited by Robert Bly, Henry David Thoreau, 1849, pp. 49-74.
  5. Thoreau, Henry David. “Life Without principle” Civil Disobedience. Edited by Robert Bly, Henry David Thoreau, 1849, pp. 75-90.

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