Emily Dickinson's View Of An Ideal Society

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In the New England Renaissance, the Fireside poets, the Transcendentalists, and the Romantics offer differing images of an ideal society. The Fireside poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow echoes the Puritan work ethic while the Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson contends that one should be unapologetically contradictory to societal expectations and unmindful of society’s displeasure with his actions. Further expounding on this sentiment, the Romantic wordsmith Emily Dickinson argues that an intimate group is preferable to an extensive society. To reach one’s maximum potential, one should form a tight-knit community with like-minded friends who work hard, innovate, and ignore the rest of society’s objections to their deviation from societal norms.…show more content…
To begin the close-knit community, the individual needs to have connections in the larger part of society because “it is difficult to begin without borrowing,” so “perhaps it is the most generous course thus to permit your fellow-men to have an interest in your enterprise” (Thoreau 288). Thus, the individual might consider letting those who help him join the community and aid in his work. Unfortunately, the benefits of a society and a community do not apply equally to all because “if some have the pleasure of riding on a rail, others have the misfortune to be ridden upon” (Thoreau 294). Thus, an individual should be wary of who he allows to ally with him because those people will be the passengers upon his back. While the individual innovates and improves himself, the community profits off of the work of the individual. Yet, as much as the community needs the individual, the individual needs the community. As Ralph Waldo Emerson recapitulates, “it is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude” (279). The inevitable formation of a community around a great man should not hinder him as he gathers a small fellowship of similar companions to work with him to
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