Henry David Thoreau Transcendentalism

Decent Essays
Henry David Thoreau was an American transcendental writer in the 1800s. He was a well-educated man, having attended Harvard, and his writing served as an unconventional and controversial recount of his life. He contributed works such as Walden, Civil Disobedience, and several others to society and became one of the well-known transcendental authors of his time. His works were often met with criticism though, and his life seemed to take him in quite odd directions, one of which landed him in jail. A story was written about the time he spent in jail and some of the more significant moments in his life. In the play “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail” by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, the authors use examples of civil disobedience and the love…show more content…
After leaving the Public Schools of Concord, Henry actually starts his own school and focusses his students’ attention on the world around them. He says to his brother, “Break out of the classroom prison. All we need is sky! The universe can be our schoolroom…” (Qtd. in Lawrence and Lee). He believes that traditional schooling is horrific and compares it to a prison. He believes the only thing essential for learning is what has been given to them by the universe. Thoreau loves the universe for its beauty and simplicity. This idea is quite similar to what Emerson discusses in his story Nature, where he says, “The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them”. Here he suggests that one can have a relationship between nature and self, ultimately learning from and gaining happiness from nature. It’s clear Thoreau and his brother share the same beliefs as Emerson when starting their school, and the authors made sure to include that quote to prove their influences. The authors showed the audience Thoreau’s teaching style and how it expressed his transcendental beliefs. In conclusion, “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail” is written to fit perfectly with the true
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