Transcendentalism In Self-Reliance And Henry David Thoreau's Conscience?

1428 Words 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 …show more content…
The first difference between the two writings is the setting in which both are written in. Thoreau typically wrote in the presence of the outdoors, in which he would interweave natural observation and personal thought. It is assumed that he wrote his poem “Conscience” encompassed by nature. Emerson typically wrote in the company of his home where he felt sheltered and inspired by privacy and self-thought. It is also believed that he wrote this essay in the privacy of his home. Emerson’s ability to understand nature and extract symbolic meaning from it is remarkable, however his own personal experiences with the nature around him were generally rare. Thoreau’s understanding of the world enabled him to appreciate the integrity of nature, and furthermore spend time embracing and experiencing the outdoors around him

Related Documents