Who Was Christopher McCandless

Essay by coreyskeldonHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2014

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Many people have differing opinions of the type of person Christopher McCandless was. Some may see Chris as a disillusioned, foolish, young man unprepared for the dangers of the wilderness; however I see McCandless as a transcendentalist trying to free himself from the constraints of society, and find inner peace through solitude. Chris ventured into the wilderness to find happiness in its reclusiveness, but in the end I believe he was unsuccessful in this quest.

Transcendentalists believe that society and its institutions ultimately corrupt the purity of the individual. They have faith that people are at their best when truly self-reliant and independent. And that completely defines the type of person Chris McCandless was. He was an extremely impulsive individual, and wanted to know what it was like to live off the land in the wilderness, choosing to go with only ten pounds of rice, a rifle and a book on wild plants.

He ventured into the wilderness to get away from all the worries and struggles of every day life, and live without the constrictions of modern society. Many may argue that for him to give up his life, family, and money he must have been out of his mind, but I believe Chris was just an idealistic young man who wanted to explore the unexplored and discover a life without responsibility, possessions, people, or money.

When going into the Wilderness, McCandless was searching for purpose, truth, happiness, and freedom. He defined freedom as not being tethered to society and not having to conform. He defined success as finding truth and happiness through the seclusion and peace found within the wilderness. Chris hoped to follow in the footsteps of Thoreau, Tolstoy, and London and find himself and live his own idea of how his life should be, rather...