The idea of transcendentalism the idea that the world means more than its face value, that there is more to pursue in terms of knowledge and reality. Throughout the novel of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, Chris McCandless leaves behind the world that he has always known in pursuit of this something larger. From disregarding his possessions to following his beliefs adopted from authors such as Thoreau, Chris goes on a physical and spiritual journey to figure out the world for himself. Following in the footsteps of Thoreau's beliefs, Chris looks to transcend into a greater level of understanding of himself and of the world.
Henry David Thoreau is a man who cherishes the simple necessities of life, such as his home and his thoughts, and Chris believes similar thoughts about life in general. Everett Ruess, a figure that Krakauer compares to McCandless because of his similarity in journey and life story, writes letters throughout his adventures which "reveals uncanny parallels between Ruess and Chris McCandless" (91), by saying: "I have always been unsatisfied with life as most people live it. Always I want to live more intensely and richly" (91). This thought of Ruess's is very similar to the thoughts of not only Chris but also of Thoreau in that all three are not pleased by the likes of average society. The three of them all share this common ground that there is more to life than the achievements of day to day living, that there is more to accomplish than that. Another example of resemblance between Thoreau and McCandless is when McCandless writes about himself in the third person in his journal: "Two years he walks the Earth. No phone. No pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road.The climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual revolution.No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild" (163).