Analysis Of Henry David Thoreau 's Philosophy On Life Essay

Analysis Of Henry David Thoreau 's Philosophy On Life Essay

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Henry David Thoreau was a renowned American essayist, poet, and philosopher. He was a simple man who built his life around basic truths (Manzari 1). Ralph Waldo Emerson deeply impacted Thoreau’s viewpoints and philosophies, specifically by introducing him to the Transcendentalists movement. There seems to be no single ideology or set of ideas that entirely characterized Thoreau’s thoughts, but principles encompassing Transcendentalism come closest (Harding and Meyer 122). Spending time in nature and in solitude gave Thoreau an entirely new perspective on life. In fact, his doctrines regarding nature and the impact of the individual on society have transformed realms of political, social and literary history. Politically and socially, Thoreau’s works undertook controversial matters of slavery and war. He deeply criticized government and its surrounding policies that disrupted societal harmony, and particularly felt “That government is best which governs least” (Thoreau 1). More so, he established a foundation of discussing political injustices that surrounded humanity. Thoreau’s responses to the social and political issues of his day were informed by the fact that he “commonly attended more to nature than to man” (Harding & Meyer 132). In terms of literary history, Thoreau’s works have definitely left a lasting impression on American literature. Even now, his works are still being published and studied at educational institutions. He simply had no desire to meet societal expectations, but still has managed to deeply contribute to literary history regardless of his oppositional viewpoints. Thoreau’s writings were integrated into American literature’s canon to an immeasurable number of minds, affecting valuable intellects of society ...


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...erms of humanity. Famously, Walden embodied the true meaning of a spiritual adventure through simple living and finding oneself through solitude in nature. “Civil Disobedience” displayed the government’s corruptibility and explained how justice should prevail through one’s actions. He made readers ponder the thought that “disobedience is the true foundation of liberty” (Thoreau). In his time, Thoreau was a highly underestimated and misunderstood man. Today’s newfound Thoreauvian approach to modern life has led people on the “pursuit of spiritual development” (Manzari 1) with a twist of moral integrity and Transcendentalism. He was passionately dedicated to observing the natural phenomena around him, discovering its importance, and proposing those models in his writings. After all, “If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man (Thoreau 12).”


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