Transcendentalism In Henry David Thoreau

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When thinking of Henry David Thoreau, the first thing that comes to mind is his award-winning book Walden or essay “Civil Disobedience”, both pinnacles of the transcendentalist philosophy of the time. In learning more about their author, however, it is important to look at his earlier works, more specifically, his poetry. Henry David Thoreau’s naturalistic poetry reflects his transcendentalistic ideology that arose from his close relationship with Ralph Waldo Emerson and his time spent immersing himself in nature.
Born in July of 1817, Henry David Thoreau began his life in poverty on the outskirts of Concord Village in Massachusetts. He attended a public school in Concord before moving to Harvard, where he graduated in 1837. After graduating, Thoreau attempted teaching, but soon found that he clashed with the Concord school system’s ideas on discipline and resigned after a mere two weeks. He then began to work with his brother, John Thoreau, to open their own school in Concord. However, John got sick in 1841, and Thoreau was forced to work for his father’s
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In the poem, he writes that he does not aspire to be the highest in nature, but rather, he is content with any role, as long as he is permitted to stay within nature. The depth of Thoreau’s alliance with nature is underlined in the poem using metaphors; he compares himself to a zephyr, creating the feeling that he is less of an outsider observing nature, and more of a part of nature. After uniting himself with nature, Thoreau claims that he would rather be in nature and learn from it than to be a king elsewhere, and he would rather be with nature for even just a moment than to be alone in a city for a year. This statement provides a shift, and Thoreau’s relationship with nature deepens through that shift, as he claims that not only does he aspire to be part of nature, it is the only thing he aspires to
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