Transcendentalism Vs Nonconformity

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Non-Conformity: The Past, Present, and Everything Inbetween

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the man who started the Transcendentalism movement, was an American poet and essayist. Transcendentalism was a literary and philosophical movement in the 1820’s and 1830’s that was considered an opposition to the previous age of Romanticism. Transcendentalism emphasized the importance of the individual, nature, and the Oversoul, among other things. The founder, Emerson, wrote many essays in a Transcendentalist style. In one of those essays, Self-Reliance, he wrote, “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion”
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This quote is saying that there comes a time in everyone’s life when the realize that by being jealous and envious of someone else, they are ignoring what they have. Emerson thinks that spending a lifetime trying to be like someone else is killing the individual in the person. The idea of this quote, from 1851, was applied to a movie set in the early 1960’s. The English teacher at the school in the movie, Mr. Keating, uses many other sayings and quotes to get across the same meaning of the one said by Emerson. One rather well known quote that Mr. Keating uses is, “Two roads diverged in the wood, and I-/ I took the one less traveled by,/ And that has made all the difference” (Frost). The meaning of this quote is the same as the quote by Emerson. The famous bard Robert Frost is saying that it is a good thing to be a nonconformist and to choose a path in life that is considered different or strange. In the movie, Mr. Keating gets this point across to his students by having them participate in a superfluous activity about marching to their own beat. The boys are encouraged to walk however they desire, whether that be with a blithe gait, or with a lethargic one. Mr. Keating’s use of this quote applies specifically to one of his students, Neal. Neal’s father is forcing him to become a doctor.. Neal, however, does not want to be an doctor and instead desires to become an actor. He goes against his father’s wishes and orders and participates in a play, which he

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