In the novel Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer demonstrates the rejection of materialism in its rawest form to uncover that a traditional society can often shape our views and shift our values. Chris Mccandless’s quest for a unique transcendent experience, shows the concept that society has an undeniable affect on ourselves.Transcendentalism in short is defined as the philosophical and social movement that focuses around themes of nature and spiritual notes. It also pushes against society and the materialism that follows within it. An individual in particular that follows these Transcendentalist concepts Christopher McCandless. He trips around parts of North America all while his actions continue to support critical Transcendentalist ideals; the disconnection in society, a minimalistic life and a deep respect for nature.A minimalistic life is an interesting and intense way of living. It requires getting rid of most of ones belongings, besides ones fundamental needs.
Chris McCandless follows and supports this way of life, due to the fact that he does not accept any kind of expensive/luxurious or materialistic opportunity/items. Within the book, Chris’s car becomes stuck in the remains of a flash flood that occurred. Instead of the natural feeling of devastation, Christ was actually excited: “He saw the flash flood as an opportunity to shed unnecessary baggage..
..he arranged all his paper currency in a pile on the sand…and put a match to it. One hundred twenty-three dollars in legal tender was promptly reduced to ash and smoke” (29). McCandless’s loss of his simple car is tossed away in a split second because the accident allowed him to get rid of a materialistic object that will subsequently make his treasured journey easier.
McCandless practices the idea of minimalism consistently. Jan Burres, a friend McCandless met amidst his journey, urges him to take underwear and other various warm pieces of clothing when he is almost ready to leave for his quest: “‘He eventually took it to shut me up…
but the day after he left, I found most of it in the van. He’s pulled it out of his pack when we weren’t looking and hid it up under the seat'” (46). McCandless proves that even close and trusted friends cannot deter him away from his lifestyle. He turns down something that could help him survive, to push away from materialistic items. His strong and hard headed way of living a simple, minimalist lifestyle in his eyes pushes him closer to the ideal Transcendentalist figure, away from materialism prominent in society.Money is often a controversial thing that is in a multitude of ways a gateway to acquiring valuable/luxurious items, living extreme lifestyles and falling into materialism.
This explains why Chris McCandless doesn’t waste any time to leave it in the past and destroy the money he had. His actions show his efforts to stray away from a life full of materialism and fall into a lifestyle that subsequently follow the critical concepts of the idea of transcendentalism. Christopher McCandless continues to follows the guideline of a Transcendentalist life for the entirety of this novel. McCandless detaches himself from busy society, decides to live with only the bare minimum, and follows his religion and heart which leads him to amazing things on his journey away from materialism.