Henry David Thoreau And Transcendentalism

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Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that came to light in the 1820s. It was a movement that challenged the basic everyday life of society such as intellect and religion. A famous Transcendentalist named David Henry Thoreau wrote many acclaimed works. In Walden, Thoreau talks about how he lived his life to find if it had any meaning. Similarly to Thoreau, in the movie, The Perks to Being a Wallflower, a young man named Charlie, started high school with the same mindset, to find himself and what life meant to him. Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger is a novel that shows the life of a boy named Holden who, like Thoreau and Charlie, is questioning himself and everything around him. Thoreau, Charlie and Holden are searching for what makes them whole in their different adventures through life. An excerpt from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden shows that he travelled far and wide to find out if the basic life he left behind had any worth to the way he wanted to live. Thoreau attended Harvard University in 1833 as a scholarship student (Encyclopedia of World Biography). At Harvard, Thoreau got the reputation of being an individualist. Although, he could be friendly with his other classmates, he discovered that their values and what they wanted or needed would never match up to his. Thoreau took what he saw from society and left behind everything to discover his and life’s values. Thoreau explains, “I went to the woods because I wished to live life deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite ... ... middle of paper ... ...erienced many events in their life that have left them wanting more. All three of them searched internally and externally in their lives to find something that completes them. Thoreau went into the woods to find his morals and values that he wanted to live the rest if his life with because he saw how people conformed to the average life. Charlie’s journey was similar to Thoreau’s. They both found themselves in life and accepted their uniqueness and used it to make their lives better and more wholesome. Holden discovered that he did not want to be in the place he was because it was holding him back from the way of life he wanted to live. These three works show that the world is not a perfect place and not everyone will be accepting of the life they were given. They reject the hand they were dealt and want to find the life or society that makes them happy and whole.
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