American Transcendentalism : Ralph Waldo Emerson And Henry David Thoreau

937 Words Dec 17th, 2015 4 Pages
American Transcendentalism originated in the mid 19th century. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were great impactors for the Transcendentalist movement. Thoreau and Emerson tried to send a message about the importance of being your own individual, but society today didn’t exactly catch on. Emerson states “...Envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide...Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist...Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind” (pg 362).
With this he is trying to say if you want what others have you are forgetting what you’ve already gotten; that needing to be someone else is taking away from you. Being your own person means being unlike every single other person, embracing the qualities you possess already not the qualities everyone wants you to have. An agreeing quote from our other respected transcendentalism writer read “I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary...Still we live meanly like ants; though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men...Our life is frittered away by detail”(Thoreau 374). Thoreau went off into the woods to escape and live life while he could, not be forced to conform to a society in which he did not believe in. Even after escaping into the woods Thoreau noticed the conformity of the people he had left behind was growing stronger. The lives of those men, women, and possibly children were…

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