Thoreau Essay Research Paper Aubrey GeyerModern LiteratureBlock

Thoreau Essay, Research Paper

Aubrey Geyer

Modern Literature

Block 5


Thoreau Paper

The encyclopedia defines transcendentalism as: A philosophy that emphasizes the a prior

conditions of knowledge and experience or the unknowable character of ultimate reality or that

emphasizes the transcendent as the fundamental reality, a philosophy that asserts the primacy of

the spiritual and transcendental over the material and empirical. Transcendentalism can also be

interpreted as divine and intellectual expression of American democracy where everyone has an

equal opportunity of experiencing and expressing God themselves, no matter wealth, status, or

political affiliation. Transcendalism is a philosophic and literary movement, that started in New

England. This movement was a reaction against the eighteenth century rationalism. Combining

romantic, idealistic, mystical, and individualistic beliefs, this movement was more about thought

than an actual philosophy. Most aspects of the movement revolved around nature, and a higher

being. This movement was subject to change and contradiction. It did, however, have outlines

which was based on God, and unity of the world. The Transcendental emphasis on the oneness of

individual souls with nature and with God gave dignity and importance to human activity and

made possible a belief in the power to effect social change in harmony with God’s purposes. The

transcendentalists were influenced by romanticism, especially concerning self-examination, the

celebration of individualism and the wonders of nature. Most transcendentalist writers did

express, to some extent, their religious views toward nature, the whole creation process, and they

did notice some sort of connection between the universe and the indivdual spirit. Some writers

that were heavily involved in this movement were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau,

and Margaret Fuller. Thoreau is the writer of Walden. A actual account of the way he spent his

life when he decided to live in nature. This quote gives Thoreau?s opinion of people: ?It is never

too late to give up your prejudices.?

This quote expresses Thoreau?s view on people and the world. He believed we should try

to surpass our highest goals, that we should learn as much as we can, to live life to its fullest. He

was set on attaining his goal to become the best person he could be. And this quote gives a way

that we can become better people by giving up our old ways of thinking or doing something. It?s

never too late to change. Living life to its fullest and as the best person you can be you have to

first realize what is holding you back and then change it. Thoreau?s quote gives prejudices as an

example of what might be holding you back from becoming a better person but he also says it?s

never to late to change and it?s important that you do change. ?Aim above morality. Be not

simply good, be good for something? another quote from Thoreau which explains his point even

more, accept who people are and who you are. Do not change to be like the world, change for

the improvement of yourselves whether it be spiritually, mentally, or physically or all three.

Throughout Walden he emphises change. He wants us to accept ourselves and each other for

what we are, whether or not we are alike. We all march to the beat of a different drummer and

who is someone else to tell you that you need to change, when in actuality they could be the one?s

who need to change. ?If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he

hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or

faraway.? yet another quote from Thoreau which explains the differences between one another: a

different drummer.


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