Henry David Thoreau and Transcendentalism Have you ever read stories in which the protagonist surrenders all he owns to pursue a life in the wild? Stories of men like Daniel Boone who loved the wilderness, and wanted nothing more than to see it flourish from generation to generation. Their existed and still exists a group by the name of the transcendentalists, who believe that materialism is a terrible virtue, and no government is necessary, to justify these beliefs the group would conduct social experiments; for example, living in the wilderness. A social pioneer by the name of Henry David Thoreau decided that the only way to prove his principles was to live two years of social exile, in the middle of the wilderness. "Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth (Walden).” Not many have the courage to lay their beliefs on the line, but here is the story of one man who did. Born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817, Thoreau was raised alongside his three siblings John (the oldest), Helen and Sophia (the youngest). His father assembled pencils at the local factory, and his mother would rent out parts of their house to boarders. Being a very intelligent young man, Thoreau began studying at Harvard University, learning a variety of subjects including a few languages. Although, Most men of the day would graduate college in hopes of a law or doctoral degree, Thoreau pursued a career in education. Upon graduating from college, Thoreau began his education career as a school teacher in Concord, but that would not last, as Thoreau's refusal in opting for corporal punishment ended in a loss of the position. Out of the tragedy, arose good, for later that year Thoreau would befriend his mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, and learn of transcendentalism. Unable to find Work in the city of Maine, Thoreau returned to Concord to help his eldest brother John open a school, whose lack of physical punishment and emphasis on nature and science made the school quite a success. Three years later, John became ill which led to the closing of the school, with nowhere to go Thoreau turned to his father for a local position at the pencil factory, his father obliged. Thoreau was very grateful for his position at the factory, but felt there was more to life than what he was experiencing, he moved in with his good friend Emerson, who helped grow the writer in him eventually leading to his greatest creation “Walden” (biography).” Before diving into the topic of transcendentalism, one must first be able to identify the definition. Transcendentalism is a literary and philosophical movement, associated with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller, asserting the existence of an ideal spiritual reality that transcends the empirical and scientific and is knowable through intuition (thefreedictionary.com). Origins of transcendentalism first arose among New England Congregationalists who differed from orthodox Calvinism in the ideas of predestination and emphasizing trinity of God over unity of God. It also developed as a ploy against the ideas of rationalism. Emerson exposed Thoreau to these ideas, in which he accepted and fought to have these same ideas remain throughout generations beyond his time.
"Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in…
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were two writers during the transcendentalism era. Their beliefs, such as simplicity, self-reliance, and nature, are still relevant in our society today.
Henry David Thoreau was a firm believer that people spend too much time buying luxuries to really enjoy/appreciate anything at all. In the 1800's as well as now, prices continue to rise and people are being forced to work more and more just to make ends meet. This wouldn't be a problem if…
All important 19th century abolitionists were Northern whites associated with the New York Anti-Slavery Society located in Utica, New York
7. Ralph Waldo Emerson is most closely associated with the notion of self-reliance and Henry David Thoreau is most closely associated with the idea of civil disobedience
8. Emerson and Thoreau, while intellectuals, had no impact whatsoever on the thinking of 19th century Americans.
9. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work is most closely associated…
have done, experiences, people you have met and memories you have? Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is not the length of life, but the depth of life.” Meaning its not how long you live but how you have lived, your memories not money. You can be broke and still have had a great life with a ton of amazing memories and achievements. “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals” (Thoreau). The purpose of life is to experience, live freely and simply,…
instance, the development of the self.
How does work guide the development of the self? Through out the written of these authors, Emerson, Henry Thoreau, and Douglass, work is very beneficial. Work gives us more self-reliance which is hardly found in some person. Also, in the purpose of work, people get experience as I have learned when reading “The Bean Field” from Henry Thoreau. Beside of that, work also gives us money as well, for that; you can spend it or save it, so you can be wealthy. Finally, I…
individual in society by means of self-reliance, nonconformity, and free thinking.
By relying solely on themselves, Transcendentalists must be hard working people. They believe that working hard brings happiness. This is evident when Emerson wrote in his work, “Self Reliance”: “A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace”(369). Transcendentalists are happiest when they work harder…
The essay “Self Reliance” has become one of the best literary essays in American
Literature. Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self Reliance” is full of individualism and has
been part of one of the most influential essays ever. In this essay revisited, I will explore two of
the many passages that Emerson’s has placed in this epic essay, so that we can explore the
literary work deeper, and understand it better.
“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true…
Honors 11 English
21 November, 2014
Thoreau Quotes and Emerson Aphorisms
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads”
If I were instructed to describe my way of thinking through a single quote, this would be
the quote to come to mind. To me, this quote is implying that
the world we live in is as
wonderful as heaven itself. Through this quote, Thoreau shared his views of how glorious it is
just to be alive and to have this beautiful planet as our home…
There is over 7 billion human beings living in our modern world, and to be a completely unique individual within this mass, that is truly to live. The Transcendentalism movement began in the 1830’s through its father Ralph Waldo Emerson. He and his student Henry David Thoreau created multiple pieces of brilliant literature to showcase their ideology and philosophy. The philosophies cultivated the movement centralized around a belief of a higher reality than human reasoning. Transcendental ideals…
A poet who took definition as her province, Emily Dickinson challenged the existing definitions of poetry and the poet’s work. Like writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Davis Thoreau, and Walt Whitman, she experimented with expression in order to free it from conventional restraints. She crafted a new type of persona for the first person. The speakers in Dickinson’s poetry are sharp-sighted observers who see the inescapable limitations of their societies as well as their…