From Into the Wild, what were Chris McCandless's main ideals?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Chris McCandless believed in transcendentalism, as demonstrated by his ideas, thoughts, and actions. He was greatly influenced by Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, whom he referenced a number of times in his journal. Thoreau and Emerson were both transcendentalists, and Chris sought to emulate their idealistic lifestyles. The basic principle of transcendentalism is the pursuit of truth through communicating with nature and finding oneself. McCandless loved to be alone with nature, as witnessed in his adventure to Alaska, as well as in several previous trips.

McCandless believed in independence and nonconformity and that evil accompanies materialism. For this reason, he abandoned all aspects of modern life, cut off communication with family, disposed of all his money and possessions, and ventured into the wilderness, believing himself capable of self-sustenance. Unfortunately, his very beliefs caused him to venture out ill-prepared, and he died of what seems to have been...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 525 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team