“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see” (“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”). Thoreau lived his whole life trying to figure out what really matters to humanity. His personality was quite different than others. He was into individualism and he separated himself from society to live on his own and focus on becoming self-reliant.Thoreau’s seperation from society resulted in him being seperated from society and not needing anyone's help. Learning to live and succeed by himself without influences from people was his goal.
Thoroughly Reading Thoreau (An Analysis on the works of Henry David Thoreau) There are many classic writers that have come out of America. Many have made large impacts on the world and have truly changed the way literature is read. Inside there works, there are hidden meanings and messages written between the lines that readers are able to pull apart and study daily.Henry David Thoreau is an American writer whose works are studied daily in English classes and in other settings. He taught people that it’s okay to look at the world with a different perspective than other people. Thoreau once stated, “This world is but a canvas to our imagination” (Thoreau).
The condition of the operatives is becoming every day more like that of the English; and it cannot be wondered at, since, as far as I have heard or observed, the principal object is, not that mankind may be well and honestly clad, but, unquestionably, that corporations may be enriched¨ (Walden, 13). Moreover, Thoreau believes factory produced goods and the overall use of technology disassociate people with the connection of producing goods and doing work. Thoreau was a transcendentalist thus possessing the beliefs of transcendentalism. He wanted to maintain a spiritual life connected to nature. He believed an individual could find the divine directly through a connection to nature and a man must become a part of nature to truly find the divine.
In 1854 Henry David Thoreau wrote two more influential essays, “Slavery in Massachusetts” and “A Plea for Captain John Brown”, in them he lectured against slavery, the Fugitive Slave Law, and defended the radical abolitionist, John Brown. Henry served as an abolitionist himself, and was a conductor of the underground railroad, helping slaves escape to Canada. Other great works by Henry David Thoreau are The Maine Woods, a novel about three trips to Maine and his attempt to climb Maine’s tallest Mountain, Cape Cod, Thoreau’s funniest novel about four trips to Cape Cod, and A Yankee in Canada, a novel based on the scenery and his disappointments with
Since Thoreau's graduation from Harvard, he had become a protégé of his famous neighbor and an informal student of Emerson's Transcendental ideas. Transcendentalism was an American version of Romantic Idealism, a dualistic Neoplatonic view of the world divided into the material and the spiritual. For Emerson, "Mind is the only reality, of which all other natures are better or worse reflectors. Nature, literature, history, are only subjective phenomena." For the Transcendentalist, the secret of successful living was to hold oneself above material concerns as much as possible and focus on the spiritual.
He 's a forerunner of Romanticism, and promoted the ideas of the return to nature, the Natural Law, the Noble Savage and the importance of natural education. His works influenced the leaders of the French revolution, since Rousseau rejected the restraints placed on man in his contemporary society. He encouraged man to embrace his emotions and to step away from the pretentiousness of society ("Jean-Jaqcues Rousseau"). Rousseau 's Romanticism was apparent in his visions of a regenerated human nature. He found man to be ultimately good in nature, and that society 's influence and pretentiousness are what spoiled man 's essential goodness.
According to transcendentalists themselves, “-society and its institutions corrupt the purity of each individual.” This meaning, organized politics (parties), religions, and social status would affect the cleanliness and simplicity of an individual’s soul. Henry David Thoreau was an author, philosopher, abolitionist, historian, naturalist, tax resister, and a major figure in the transcendental movement. He was known to work closely with his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson throughout his lifetime. He is very well known for putting together nature and the demeanor of life. Born and raised in Concord, Massachusetts, he was strongly opposed to slavery.
Henry David Thoreau is one of the primary promoters of the transcendentalist movement and has been inspiring people to take on the transcendentalist lifestyle ever since the mid 1800’s. Mccandless was an admirer of Henry’s philosophy but he wasn’t as fully immersed in his work and ideals as Thoreau was to his own. His intentions were not as closely aligned to the movement as Thoreau’s and the difference between these icons are clearly visible. Self reliance is one of the most significant components of the transcendentalism movement that Henry David Thoreau contributed to in his literary career. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” - (taken from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden”).
Henry David Thoreau is known as one of the most relevant transcendentalist authors in America, not only thanks to his work as an author but also his ideology and activism as a normal individual. His transcendentalist way of both thinking and living was not only influenced by the fact that he lived in Concord, the cradle of transcendentalism in the US, but also by being in close touch with other great transcendentalists such as Bronson Alcott or Ralph Waldo Emerson. The latter one was probably the most influential on Thoreau’s development as a true transcendentalist, since Thoreau actually put into practice Emerson’s thought that in order to get to know who oneself truly is, you have to focus on Nature and devote yourself to it; and he captured his experience in the wonderfully descriptive and spiritual book Walden. Thoreau’s approach to transcendentalism, as compared to other authors and thinkers
For Thoreau, it seems that being the person that he wants to be is his dignity. Also, he says that he wants “to front only the essential facts of the nature”, and does not “wish to live what was not life” because “life is so dear” (135). He describes this hope through the novel, and his dignity seems to be a principle for his life. Therefore, we need further investigate the questions: what the person he wants to be, and what life is. Walden begins with the mention of the I, the first person.