There have been countless religious rebellions throughout history, but none quite like that of Transcendentalism. At the time of the movement’s birth, newly acquired religious freedom in the United States allowed for new ideas and beliefs to blossom freely. Ideas and beliefs that the public and government previously greeted with bitter rejection. At the heart of Transcendentalism lied its most famous ambassadors, Ralph Waldo Emerson and his apprentice, Henry David Thoreau. Although Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau shared similar views and beliefs relating to Transcendentalism, the approach each author took in writing and making the ideas that were so important concrete was not always so closely related.
Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau ended up going to Harvard College and while he was there he studied Greek and Latin as well as German. During the time that he was studying he got ill and had to take a break from studying. In the year of 1837 he graduated from Harvard but after this he really did not know what he was going to do. Since he did not know what he wanted to do he ended up creating a school with his brother in 1838. Not long after John became ill and the school soon collapsed. After this occurred, Thoreau started working for his father. After college he became friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Emerson showed him Transcendentalism. Interesting enough Emerson became like a teacher to Thoreau and they started to live together. An amount of Thoreau’s work was published in The Dial which is a Transcendentalist Magazine.
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Thoreau, David Henry. “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For.” The Language of Composition. Ed. Renee H. Shea, Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin Dissin Aufses. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. 276-281. Print.
Myerson, Joel. The Cambridge Companion to Henry David Thoreau. New York: Cambridge UP, 1995. Print.
Transcendentalism is a belief that would, in a way, consume Thoreau`s thoughts and it would be portrayed throughout his many works that he published and wrote. “Transcendentalism regarded nature, both as symbol and actuality” (http://www.notablebiographies.com). Thoreau wrote about being a transcendentalists in Walden; or, Life in the Woods. Another belief that he had was that he wanted an end to slavery. Thoreau was an active abolitionist until the end of his life. Thoreau wrote about being an abolitionist and how he felt on the topic of slavery. One of his works that focus on the abolition of slavery is Slavery in Massachusetts. In Slavery in Massachusetts, Thoreau wrote about taking a stand. He took a brave stand for Captain John Brown, an abolitionist. Thoreau wrote about taking a stand for him because Captain John Brown led an uprising against slavery and eventually got convicted of treason and died for this uprising against slavery. Thoreau really admired Captain John Brown for his bravery. His beliefs were portrayed throughout all of his works of literature. Thoreau was an outspoken man and defended his beliefs without a doubt. He was not ashamed to speak what he had on his mind and he did exactly
Henry David Thoreau, even before attending Harvard, was a naturalist at heart. As a younger man, he read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature and afterwards was filled with the roaming thoughts of trees and animals. After finishing school, Thoreau worked for some time as a surveyor in Massachusetts (“Henry David Thoreau”). This line of work certainly affected the young man’s views on nature simply because he was out and about everyday viewing natural scenes and phenomenon firsthand and analyzing what he saw. Thoreau might very well have witnessed some natural process happening right before his eyes and asked the most common questions of “Why?” or “How?” in an effort to understand what was happening. While it isn’t clear what Thoreau might have seen or experienced as a surveyor to make him even more acute with his naturalist senses, it is known that after this time he became a very firm (and perhaps the second most famous) transcendentalist. Transcendentalism, led by Thoreau’s friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, focused on being able to see beyond what ...
His life as been used to appeal to his traditionalist parents and their ideas for his future, as opposed to being awake and living. It’s this state of slumber that, according to Thoreau, can only be shaken with reform. In order to live by his beliefs and study the reform he wrote about, he took solitude in a cabin by Walden pond, it was here where he would “...live deliberately.” (Thoreau, Where I lived and What I lived for 2) Chris Mccandless follows similar motivations to begin his excursion, but what makes his journey more notable may be his eagerness to leave his conformist family, as he understood his future situation and identified the conflicts that would arise if he continued down that route. He recognized his parents as the paragon of American conformity, and he often discovers conformist traits in himself as he continues his journey. But he was aware that his parents could not bring the reform he so desired, and as a result he abruptly left his family, gave away his money, ignored a career path, and reconstructed his conformist life into a deliberate
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American philosopher, author, poet, abolitionist, and naturalist. He was famous for his essay, “Civil Disobedience”, and his book, Walden. He believed in individual conscience and nonviolent acts of political resistance to protest unfair laws. Moreover, he valued the importance of observing nature, being individual, and living in a simple life by his own values. His writings later influenced the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. In “Civil Disobedience” and Walden, he advocated individual nonviolent resistance to the unjust state and reflected his simple living in the nature.