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 more people…
defined the movement. In particular, the essay Self Reliance written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, displays the importance of rejecting materialism. The title of the passage gives way to one of the major themes: to rely on one’s own spirit and mind, rather than on material items. It is apparent in Emerson’s writing that he fully advocates the importance of putting one’s character and self-worth before any other element of life. Emerson talks of such when he stated, “Men have looked away from themselves and…
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau are still considered two of the most influential writers of their time. Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was a lecturer, essayist, and poet, Henry David Thoreau is his student, who was also a great essayist and critics. Both men extensively studied and embraced nature, and both men encouraged and practiced individualism and nonconformity. In Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Self Reliance" and Henry David Thoreau's book "Walden" and essay "Resistance to Civil Government…
infamous Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the same room from their pasts and had them critique your life? Well, I believe that Thoreau and Emerson would highly disagree with the way I am living my life because I am living a complicated life, I do not question the ways of authority, and I aim to be well known as a hockey player.
To start with, both Emerson and Thoreau would disagree with my abstruse life. Henry David Thoreau tests the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson about nature by living…
ideas of the transcendentalists were Henry David Thoreau, as shown in his work Walden, and
Ralph Waldo Emerson, as shown is his work of his essays.
Thoreau, being one of the more well know transcendentalist, reflected transcendentalist
ideas in his literature. He went out into the woods to go into solitude and try and actually live
that aspect of the transcendental idea. Thoreau wanted to know what it actually meant to be a
transcendentalist, he said, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,”(Thoreau
9 March 2015
A Battle: Self versus Society
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” This famous quote reflects the tension felt between the individual and society for some of the later Romantic writers and is apparent in their work. Transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau firmly believed that the individual should separate from society’s norms…
farming became considerably easier, which altered the agricultural focused economy the United States had. Jobs were changed from the farm, to the factory, and this shift allowed people with money to focus more on education then working (PBS).
Ralph Waldo Emerson took advantage of this. Being well educated and inheriting a large sum of money from his first wife, he was able to publish a literary magazine called The Dial where people of like thinking could express their ideas. His location in the North…
Through the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman, transcendentalism is
explained as the philosophy of striving to live a life of independence, simplicity, and
oneness with nature.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was the foremost pioneer of Transcendentalism. As many
of the Transcendentalists, in SelfReliance he wrote about what it was to be an individual.
Transcendentalism is exactly the opposite of "go with the flow," which is used regularly
in our modern world. This is exactly what Emerson and other Transcendentalists sought…
women the opportunity to be involved in commerce.
The world in which Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman lived in was rather different compared to the world that Kate Chopin lived in. Kate Chopin was a 20th century writer while the others were 19th century writers and lived during a period of time where society wasn’t open to the idea of changing the traditional representation of a woman. Emerson proves in his essay self reliance that society during the time wasn’t…
Don’t Dream it, Do it
In the “Declaration of Independence” by Thomas Jefferson, “Pre-Amble to the Constitution” by Thomas Jefferson, Civil Disobedience by Henry Thoreau, and Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the goal of the American people is that they are able to fulfill their dreams and goals if the change their lives.
In order for the American people to achieve their goal of becoming successful in their lives, they need to be given…