Transcendentalism, By Ralph Waldo Emerson And Henry David Thoreau

1428 Words Apr 27th, 2015 6 Pages
Transcendentalism was a religious, philosophical, and literary movement that began to express itself in the early 1800s. Transcendentalism is the belief that man, by observing nature and examining self, can better his humanity and become one with God (Goodman). Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were two strongly influential transcendentalists whose philosophies continue to provide significant message and meaning. Emerson, as a notorious writer, lecturer, and editor of the transcendental period, was dominant among the transcendentalists. Henry David Thoreau is remembered for his philosophical and naturalist writings, in which he studied under poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson’s essay, “Self-Reliance,” and Thoreau’s poem, “Conscience,” both share similar beliefs about self-importance, society, and soul, while conveying slight differences in setting and age. Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” and Thoreau’s “Conscience” share the major theme of self- importance. Each writer suggests that human connection with nature is fundamental for an individual 's rational and moral wellbeing and development. This connectedness is the foundation of the self-importance which reflects how an individual lives with solitude in nature and society (Woodlief). Emerson’s essay, “Self-Reliance,” reveals this common theme about self-importance. He opens his essay with the assertion, "To believe in your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, -…

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