Comparison Of Transcendentalism In Emerson And Thoreau

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Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement that occurred in America after Enlightenment and before the Civil War. Transcendentalist authors espoused closeness with nature while the same time nonconformity with mainstream society. It is interesting to compare and contrast the bonds that these writers promoted using several works of literature.

Transcendentalist authors Ralph Emerson and Henry Thoreau share their ideas and feelings toward nature and how it connects to people. The Ralph Emerson’s “Nature” shows how accomplished he was in attaching himself to nature. “I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; currents of the universe being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God.” this quote clearly shows how Emerson felt he was able to connect to God and all things in the universe. Some people might would consider Emerson to be rather insane or deranged however there were multiple people during this time period that felt this exact same way. Henry Thoreau had very similar ideas to Ralph Emerson however some of his ideas were much more intense than Emerson’s. Henry Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” shows us his opposition to slavery
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This in clear in the “Self-Reliance” work of literature by Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self.” Emerson expresses his views toward society in his work of literature “Self-Reliance”. Thoreau would sometimes go to higher extremes than Emerson especially when it came to exerting his ideas upon society. Thoreau’s “Walden” displayed us how he lived without anyone else and relied on no one but himself for 2 years. This shows us the extremes that Thoreau was willing to go to for his beliefs. Although Emerson and Walden were very different they also had their similarities. Emerson and thoreau shared very similar ideas it was there methods of sharing them that made them so
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