Thoreau And Whitman Analysis

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society.” Would you go as far to leave society in search of the meaning of life? Would you go live in the essence of nature in search of a transcendent reality outside of human experience? The movement of Transcendentalism emphasize that the study of nature enables individuals to form a connection with a transcendent reality. With this connection, all will be revealed as the truth about the unknown. The works of Thoreau and Whitman emphasize the importance of being commune with nature as an inspiration to seek the unknown. Thoreau and Whitman emphasize that the nature of time is continuous, but connected and should
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In contrast, Thoreau seeks for simplicity and solitude for a change in society. Thoreau calls for a change in society because of the effects of modernization which he emphasizes that a man “has no time to be anything but a machine” (Economy, 5). He demonstrates that the evolution of modern technology is affecting the growth of the people by imposing materialistic perspectives. He emphasizes “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail” (Where I Lived, 19). The idea of living a simple life is a central theme in Thoreau’s Walden where he presents his simple and self-reliant life at Walden Pond. He encourages individuals to let go of their materialistic views. Having less is much more significant that materialism and commercialism. “Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations” (The Village, 227 ). Thoreau believes that by being in solitude and commune with nature, one begins to understand more about themselves. They will form a deeper understanding about the meaning of their existence far beyond ordinary experience. In contrast, Whitman acknowledges that in the world, there is in fact both evil and good. However, he embraces the individualism of every individual believing that everyone receives an identity as their soul. In stanza 15 of Songs of Myself, Whitman expresses grand admiration for all people and sees himself in each one of them. “The carpenter…the married and unmarried children…the pilot…the farmer…the lunatic…the jour printer…the guadroon girl…” He continues naming all types of people which emphasizes that everyone is part of society. No one is out of place as he observes from afar

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