Chris McCandless essence of Emerson's work "Self-Reliance"

Essay by Yummytaco123High School, 11th gradeA, December 2008

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Pete Grasso

September 11, 2008

In 1841 Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his famous essay "Self-Reliance". This stated his belief in the importance of being self-reliant and outlined the steps necessary to become independent. Over 250 years later Chris McCandless entered the Alaskan wilderness embodying most of the principles that Emerson highlights. Indeed, Chris is almost a perfect example of Emerson's self-reliant being. Most importantly, he is not afraid to take risks and he follows his soul. The one area where he partially lacks Emersonian principles is in speaking his mind.

As early as high school Chris strived for independence. In the summer after his senior year of high school he packed up his car and headed out alone on an expedition around America. His parents told him to call every day but after a while he stopped calling. Chris also supported the charities of his liking. As a high school student he fought for his causes such as stopping hunger and would often go into the city and work for a soup kitchen.

Moreover, after college he withdrew the rest of the money that he had in his education fund and donated it to OXFAM America, a charity devoted to ending hunger in America, "More than twenty thousand dollars remained at the tie of Chris's graduation… he would shortly donate all the money… to OXFAM America"(Krakauer 20). The one way he did not display Emersonian qualities is in his teens and early twenties is that he did not speak his mind on an important issue. After finding out that his father had an affair with another woman, Chris just brooded about it rather than confronting his dad and discussing it. His hatred for his father grew to the point he finally cannot handle it anymore so he started his post-college...