Transcendentalism: David Henry Thoreau

1550 Words7 Pages
Intro David Henry Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817 and lived nearly all of his life in Concord, Massachusetts, a small town about twenty miles west of Boston. He was the third child with his older siblings John and Helen and younger sister Sophia. His father John was a shopkeeper. John moved his family to Chelmsford and Boston, following business opportunities. In 1823 the family moved back to Concord where John established a pencil-making concern that eventually brought financial stability to the family. Thoreau’s mother, Cynthia Dunbar, took in boarders from rented out sections of the house to help keep ends meet. Thoreau’s older siblings, Helen and John, Jr were both schoolteachers; when it was decided that their brother should further…show more content…
Transcendentalism believed in the importance of intuition, of the divine spirit uniting all souls, and that true revelation and insight could only take place in nature, where things are most pure. Emerson’s talk that night was called the, “The American Scholar”. In it, he exhorted his audience to throw off the traditions or European scholarships and thought and define for themselves a new American way of thinking. (Shmoop Editorial Team) Twenty-year-old Thoreau was completely gripped. He approached Emerson afterward to introduce himself. The two men had a lot in common and became good friends. Emerson became an important mentor to Thoreau. His impact on the young man’s life was immediately apparent. Emerson was a big fan of journal keeping and encouraged Thoreau to do the same. “So I make my first entry to-day,” Thoreau wrote in his first journal entry on 22 October 1837. Thoreau kept up the habit all of his life, and his journals are an important insight into his philosophies. Also, around this time, he changed his name to Henry
Open Document