Emerson And Transcendentalism

1033 Words 5 Pages
The transcendental period was a very important part of modern American literature. Transcendentalism can be thought of as a philosophy that puts spirituality over materialism, that believes that people are born good and that a person can only discover God through nature. This philosophy is responsible for such authors as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson is a perfect representative of the era - he writes about nature, exploration of the inner-self and individualism. He is very open about it, and carries these ideas throughout his works. Hawthorne on the other hand shares the same ideas as Emerson, but the way he presents them is different. While the ideas of individuality, self – reliance, and identity are all present in …show more content…
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" (554) he writes. In this quote, as in entire "Self-Reliance," Emerson emphasizes and stresses the importance and the need for individuals to reject fake consistency and day-to-day conformity; and instead pursue their personal believes and ideas. This will probably result in the individual being misunderstood, but as Emerson states, all great and famous people were once misunderstood: “Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.” (554).
Hawthorne, on the other hand, has a very distinct and different view on nature. In his works - nature, specifically woods, are more of an evil place – a place where horrible and dreadful things can happen. Exactly that happens in “Young Goodman Brown”. It is a place where Goodman Brown encounters the Devil himself: "’The devil!’ screamed the pious old lady.” (622). There are also descriptions of the woods by Goodman Brown, in which he depicts them as “haunted” (625) and portrays
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These alterations on such big ideas like self – reliance, human nature, and others make the writing of both authors very recognizable. And that is the best thing about literature. The reader has an opportunity to look at and then consider the same idea from two different perspectives. He then forms unique, completely new vision on the given topic. This is really useful in developing creativity and is hugely important in understanding the topic effectively and

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