Essay on Emerson And Thoreau : The American Scholar

822 Words Nov 8th, 2015 4 Pages
American Transcendentalism was a great movement in the middle of the nineteenth century (Campbell). Two of the most influential, transcendentalist writers of this era is Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Emerson and Thoreau expressed similar meanings in their stories. Emerson’s The American Scholar explains the functions, virtues, and roles of an individual. Thoreau’s Walden is a continuation of Emerson’s The American Scholar, in that Thoreau gives a deeper explanation of the functions, virtues, and roles of the individual. Both of these stories, however, express slightly different views on religion and government, money and power, but they both express Light Romanticism in experimental qualities. Emerson and Thoreau also present a logical progression of the thoughts about individuality that were expressed during the Enlightenment.
In The American Scholar, Emerson describes a Scholar (also referred to as the individual), and the Scholar’s functions, virtues, and roles in society. Emerson describes the functions of the individual as “metamorphosed into a thing, into many things,” (Emerson 244). Man is a planter, but is not praised for his work. Emerson shows that the individual should be known as man on the farm, but instead man is titled “farmer” instead of “man” (Emerson 244). Emerson describes many functions of the individual: farmer, planter, priest, thinker (Emerson 244, 250). What the audience is expected to understand about these functions is that the…

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