Compare and Contrast the Way in which Emerson and Thoreau Represents American Identity

1290 WordsJun 18, 20186 Pages
In the year of 1600’s, the United States of America was being colonized by European countries especially by England. However, on 4th of July 1776 America became independent after having drafted the “Declaration of Independence” initiated by Thomas Jefferson [History of the United States, Wikipedia]. The difference between these two time periods shows that Britain had colonized America for about 176 years which ultimately led to prosper European cultures. Although America became an independent nation, European culture was still playing its role. Therefore, American writers namely Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau presented an idea about American Identity. Emerson in The American Scholar and Thoreau in Walden represents the idea…show more content…
Similar to Emerson, he also mentions about a person’s thinking capability not to be limited but to be expanding further. He too makes a judgment on a person’s thought. In Walden, there is a paragraph whereby he talks about Walden Pond which men believed it to be bottomless. People came up with various stories regarding the pond being bottomless but no one tried to figure the truth. So, he, Thoreau went to discover the truth and he found out that the pond was not bottomless instead it had depth of “One hundred and seven” [Thoreau,1854]. Through this a person is able to understand that a man is not supposed to believe in stories created by other men because each man is an individual and have the right to know answers. Thoreau is trying to convince men to diverse their thoughts beyond the information given by the Europeans which in turn will help shape an American identity. Again in Walden, Thoreau wrote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately” [1854]. It is quite strange that Thoreau had chosen to live in woods purposely. Perhaps one reason can be that he is a transcendentalist but one must not forget that he had discovered about the Walden Pond when he was deliberately living in the woods. However, another possible explanation can be that woods are not dominated or are controlled by anyone, nature lives freely in world. Therefore, a reader can

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