Transcendental Features in Into the Wild

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Where does true happiness come from? Most people would say that they would be happiest if they were rich, maybe if they had their dream job, or if they lived in a castle or mansion. Others may say that happiness comes from family and friends. However, writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau seem to agree that transcendentalism plays the biggest role in attaining true happiness.

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Transcendentalism is the idea that man should be one with nature, and should waste no time attempting to fit into society. One movie does a stellar job of representing this concept. The theme that the movie, (Penn Sean, director. Into The Wild. 2007), carries is that true happiness can only be found in nature, away from society.

True happiness can only be found in nature, away from society. That theme is supported heavily by Into The Wild because of all the times the characters are shown to be truly happy when they’re out in nature, relaxing and having genuine fun with one another. This can be seen when Chris meets Sonja and Mads, who are cooking almost completely naked and listening to music, and ends up having a fun time just hanging out with them. Normally, in society most people would’ve looked at them and tried as hard as they could to avoid them, but because Chris wasn’t interested in following the rules set by society, he joins them and ends up enjoying himself.

One might argue that true happiness can be found in the suburbs just as often if not more often, but Chris’s family shows to be extremely unstable, likely due to their need to fit in with society. This is shown in one of the flashbacks to Chris’s old life, when his parents are screaming at each other frantically about Christmas and money, then Chris’s father starts pinning down his mother and getting violent with her. The viewer can tell that Chris’s father isn’t a bad person at heart, but the obstacles he faces as he tries to go with society prove to have taken a huge toll on him,

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