A Social Study: Finding People Through A Lens

2248 Words Jun 18th, 2018 9 Pages
The idea of American Romanticism originated in the early 19th century. It encompassed the revolutionary spirit America was beginning to embody, and sought to break rigid societal norms of conformity by emphasizing the individuals importance, fueled by emotion as movement, in connecting to the world in which one lived. The movement utilized various facets of art to form an identity, which produced an overwhelming appeal to an American society with contradicting mindsets prevalent in trying to form what the said identity looked like. Though perhaps a topic that could be spoke upon to no extent, the American Romantic ideal becomes certainly prevalent while considering the works of Henry David Thoreau and Edward Curtis. Both men use elements …show more content…
Thoreau proposes the notion that,
Some of our northern Indians eat raw the marrow of the Arctic reindeer, as well as various other parts [ . . . ] And herein, perchance, they have stolen a march on the cooks of Paris. They get what usually goes to the fire. This is probably better than stall-fed beef and slaughterhouse pork to make a man of. Give me a wilderness whose glance to civilization can endure -- as if we lived on the marrow of koodoos and devoured raw (Thoreau, Walking).
The fact of the matter is that Thoreau probably never saw real Indians eating reindeer antlers, and on the same stream of ideas, never actually met or lived with real Indians. But, he surly romanticizes who they are as a people. He uses the socially constructed notion that Indians are indeed savages to make his case that in savagery one is actually living. Thoreau is critiquing the “born with a silver spoon” society all around him, saying that to eat a raw animal makes more of a man than to eat an animal killed at a slaughterhouse, as a refined and civilized person would do. But, then again Thoreau despised the idea of etiquette. Thoreau’s romanticized vision of what an Indian actually is may not be completely accurate, but does add to his argument, which outlines a way of living.
Furthermore, Thoreau adds to his critique of society