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Chris versus Tim essay


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“Who would ever believe civil disobedience?” - Owen Spalding. The beginning of this semester we learned about two modern representatives of transcendentalism, Christofer McCandless and Timothy Treadwell. Chris was a college graduate who went into nature to find himself and prove he could outlast nature. Tim was an amateur naturalist who went into nature to “protect” it and seek attention. Although both Chris and Tim sought nature and died in it however they were more different than alike, Chris sought to escape from society and find himself whereas Tim sought to get attention on a large scale and feel accepted.


First I will talk about Chris. His main reasoning for going out into nature was that he wanted to find himself. He connected greatly with Jack London's books about Alaska and felt that that was the only way he could truly live. He was not nearly as attention seeking as Tim. He certainly did not expect to be in a book and probably would have condemned it. He was not suicidal as some people claimed but rather depressed. He did not feel he could ever really achieve greatness without nature and hated formal society. He looked at most society as immature with no drive to get better and so he turned to nature to repel common society. although he did prepare himself well for what he had to face he certainly was a true transcendentalist.


Second I will talk about Tim. To me he is one of the worst kind of people. He sought attention by going out and doing something incredibly stupid just to get attention. Although he was more cleanly presented, he should be compared more to figures like Snooki, Charlie Sheen, and the Octo-Mom. No one should be famous for their stupidity, yet so many people are and Tim happened to be one of them. I feel he planned to die to become almost a martyr towards his fake cause of protecting the bears. He did nothing to benefit the bears in any way as they were already protected and only served to bring himself attention.


Although I do not connect with either individual on a great level and feel it is better to work together for the common good I certainly like Chris more. That is probably already clear. To me transcendentalism is selfish in its own right but especially the way the tim tried to use it. First I would like to go over why it is selfish and then state how Tim made it more so. It is selfish because individuals go out into nature to only benefit themselves and no one else. Tim made this worse by trying to get attention for doing so.


In comparison I do not think Chris would have liked Tim. To me Tim represents everything that Chris stood against. Just trying to connect to nature doesn’t equal transcendentalism but rather one must also try to find themselves and escape from normal society. Tim did not do this and tried to appeal to society and was therefore not a transcendentalist in my mind.



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