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Thoreau's Beliefs

Decent Essays
After reading Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The American Scholar,” I can see many similarities between his ideas and the themes of Henry David Thoreau’s writings. Thoreau embodies Emerson’s idea of the American Scholar in several ways. In “Resistance to Civil Government,” Thoreau states, “The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it” (Norton Anthology 843). He goes on to discuss how the government needs to be amended. This quote sums up the main point of the writing. Thoreau saw an issue in a prominent organization and spoke out about it. He even proposed a solution to this major problem. Thus, he embodies the idea…show more content…
Humility like darkness reveals the heavenly lights” (Norton Anthology 931). This statement illustrates Thoreau’s propensity for simplicity. He had no appreciation for the finer material things in life. He even discussed the benefits of not accumulating clothes (Norton Anthology 931). This can be related to Emerson’s statement, “Genius is always sufficiently the enemy of genius by over-influence” (Norton Anthology 540). This perfectly sums up Thoreau’s basic life principles. Emerson is basically saying that too much is not a good thing. Over-influence can be compared to concepts such as over-indulgence, which is what Thoreau is arguing against. Someone can become too influenced by their material belongings and friends, rather than being influenced by their thoughts and non-material property. In addition, the idea of the word “genius” may be associated with intricacy or the unfathomable. In reality, genius can be incredibly simple. It does not have to coincide with this over the top stigma. Overall, Thoreau’s idea of simplicity directly aligns with Emerson’s idea of the barely influenced American scholar. The writings of Emerson and Thoreau truly impressed me. This was my first time reading works from either of the authors. Thoreau embodies many aspects of Emerson’s description of the American
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