Characteristics Of Transcendentalism

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Transcendentalism was a literary movement in the 1800s which incorporated aspects such as a love for nature, self-reliance, and the benefits to a simple life. Three noteworthy transcendentalist authors were Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Firstly, they embraced nature when a planetary management worldview (solely using the environment for humans’ own benefit) was most prevalent. Secondly, they all believed in fledgling movements without much support, such as feminism and the abolition of slavery.They also, as a core facet of their beliefs, held their own beliefs and values higher than those of society, and thus, resisted societal pressure to adapt their views. Much of their literature advocated absolute self-reliance …show more content…
They all claim that one should be oneself, making life choices based on their own values and aspirations. Henry David Thoreau wrote in “Walden”: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” This means that one should act solely for oneself, to please and appease oneself. One should not simply conform to society- one should seek to appease oneself and one’s desires. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his poem “Good-Bye”, “Good-bye, proud world! I 'm going home/Thou art not my friend, and I 'm not thine./Long through thy weary crowds I roam;/A river-ark on the ocean brine,/Long I 've been tossed like the driven foam;/But now, proud world! I 'm going home.” This refers to his “going home” or finding his own path instead of following the popular one. Emerson even went so far as to say, “Whoso must be a man must be a nonconformist.” Margaret Fuller’s first and foremost definition was a feminist, which in the Transcendentalist era was the epitome of nonconformity. She repudiated the societal standards that mandated the role of woman as a mother and housewife. These three transcendentalists were all staunch advocates for …show more content…
One of their major commonalities was their resistance to conform to society, and their impractical advocacy for utter self-reliance. Firstly, they all were environmentally minded people, even when it was not popular to be. They all also supported unpopular movements, such as the abolition of slavery and the movement for equal rights for women. They all staunchly advocated for and practiced nonconformity. These three transcendentalists also agreed on another thing- the benefits of complete self-reliance. However, this was a completely naive standpoint, as human nature makes it impossible for any good to result from this. We need a safeguard to keep our detrimental human nature in check. With the negative aspects of human nature, can Transcendentalist-endorsed total self-reliance ever contribute to positivity in

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