Transcendentalism: Henry David Thoreau

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The Effect of Transcendentalism: Henry David Thoreau Transcendentalism is the American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century that was rooted in the pure Romanticism of the English and the German (Goodman). Ralph Waldo Emerson is considered the father of Transcendentalism because his literature is the first to praise the notable spirituality of nature. The basic belief of the movement is to live authentically; being true to oneself (Day). The movement itself, in the years 1840-1860, is fertile in knowledge because people are now beginning to ask questions about religion. Questions about religion, at the time, would most likely consist of origin, morality, and rituals. Because of the complex level of…show more content…
In the period of Thoreau, he feels as if those who aren’t in the beliefs of Transcendentalism aren’t in touch with the world they live in. In Walden, Thoreau says, “I believe that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark, though the witches are all hung, and Christianity and candles have been introduced” (Thoreau 98). In this line of Walden, Thoreau figuratively utilizes “dark” as the unknown, witchcraft, or even tawdry thoughts or situations. The same can be said for today also; some citizens in today’s America with religious beliefs tend to formulate an idea of what is bad, or “dark,” and tend to develop a moral basis on how to avoid those things. The way to avoid the “dark” is to light a “candle.” The epitome of that particular topic mentioned in Walden would be the views about modesty during the Iranian Revolution. During the Iranian Revolution, women are to be obligated to cover all, or conceal, of their body but their face and their hands because if they did not, they would sexually tempt men into having sexual relations with them(“Women and the Iranian Revolution”). The purpose of putting such strict obligations on the women is to make them the “Ideal Revolutionary Woman.” Qualities of the “Ideal Revolutionary Woman” are: to be pious, fulfilling at home obligations, and being trained in tradition so that they could be the adequate wife (“Women and the Iranian…show more content…
The qualities demonstrated today are: divinity within nature, civil disobedience when needed, and individualism (Transcendentalism Themes -ENotes.com"). All of those qualities can be found in The Little Mermaid by Disney. In The Little Mermaid, Ariel’s interest into nature’s divine was fueled by her discoveries. The curiosity concerning nature’s gifts brews so deeply that when she finds an object, she names it; she even names a fork a “dinglehopper” (“Ariel’s Story- Disney Princess”). Another way that Ariel finds divinity within nature is that she goes swimming to find out what more the world around her has to offer. One, after studying, can assume that civil disobedience is one of Transcendentalism’s deepest roots. Civil disobedience is the refusal to obey governmental demands or commands especially as a nonviolent and usually collective means of forcing concessions from the government (Merriam-Webster). Ariel demonstrates civil disobedience when her father, King Triton, forbids her to find out what life is like on land. In this case, Ariel utilizes civil disobedience because she does the opposite of what she is told without the use of violence. Most of all, Ariel wants to be an individual. Even though Ariel is the daughter of a King, making her a princess, she feels as if she is not living to her full potential because she is not being true to herself.
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