As society faced great inequities in the 19th and 20th centuries, activists and philosophers sought to inform the general public. At the turn of the 19th century, Thoreau presented his writing of a "Civil Disobedience" as an argument of the injustices of the tyrannical government after spending a night in jail. Likewise, Martin Luther King Jr. presented his argument to society as he was jailed in 1963. In his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," King perceives the injustice of the African American community as a primary goal as to the need for the advocation of the whole population. Whereas in Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience," it addresses the injustices in broader terms and stresses the despotic government. Both King and Thoreau address these arguments in similar and divergent fashions through the use of purpose, and persuasive writing styles.
The ideals and structures of the society we live in today clearly contrast with the core ideals of Henry David Thoreau. We rely on seemingly everything but ourselves for information, and we have trampled upon the nature that was so valued by Thoreau. Our rapid technological advancements have improved our lives in countless ways, but many elements of our digital technology would surely garner shame from a dedicated transcendentalist like Thoreau. Furthermore, the citizens of America have allowed for an elected government that Thoreau would believe has grown too powerful and possesses excessive influence over our lives. If Thoreau lived in today’s society, he would be aghast at the abuse of the environment due to industrialization,
Henry David Thoreau especially supported the interaction between man and nature. With his experiment at Walden, he addresses a modern concept known as minimalism, focusing on the way one must supply for himself with his basic necessities. His intentions were not to isolate himself, but moreso to separate himself from a life dependent upon others. Through his actions, he is able to criticise society and many of their needs.
The bold and brash approach on life by transcendentalists was truly an ambitious lifestyle. Such individuals like Henry David Thoreau, Chris McCandless, and Jon Krakauer have renounced all of their mainstream agendas to lead a more fundamental life, but not without the criticism other have faced. The actions portrayed in their novels demonstrate how important it is to incorporate others’ ideas when one’s own choices.
Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 born and raised in Concord, was a popular student in Harvard. Despite his financial and health deformities he was able to graduate from the university. By 1837 America was facing an economic depression and jobs were not easily available. Thoreau began to write poems and essays of transcendentalism to escape from the development and also to emphasize on nature. Therefore, he spent two years in Walden Pond (Schneider, 2013).
In Walden and Resistance to Civil Government, Henry David Thoreau the author, uses the rhetorical strategies of personification, metaphor, and allusion/symbolism in the chapter “Conclusion” to describe what he learned from his experiment of living in Walden Pond. Thoreau’s main message of what he learned is to be undefined by what’s in front. Without the limits of conformity, humans have the capacity to achieve much greater and beautiful dreams and goals. Conformity is the boundary that doesn’t let individuals reach their great potential.
An aphorism, by definition, is an observation that contains a general truth, or a concise statement of a scientific principle. In simpler terms, it is something a person can use to guide their own path in life. Everyone has their own path to follow, and any one person can create their own. Some aphorisms are easier to comprehend, like Benjamin Franklin’s, “Honesty is the best policy”, which is one that most people know and understand. Others, however, are not so easy to understand. These aphorisms, which tend to give the mind a little more work, are usually the most reliable.
Krakauer wrote Into the Wild with a great deal of respect and privacy in regards to this issue, but years later Carine decided it was time to come clean. Mr. and Mrs. McCandless still claim Krakauer to have written rubbish about their beloved son. Carine commented that she was not surprised by the response because their parents never understood the impact they had on Chris or herself (Holtzclaw). McCandless was about to embark on the unforgettable journey he had waited his entire life for in order to become “King of the Road” but only for the course of two years. “King of the Road” was country singer Roger Miller’s song, published in 1965 that idealized a type of vagabond lifestyle (King of). According to the 20/20 on Chris McCandless this
But, nature does not exclude humans, human excludes themselves from nature. Within the “mists of [the] chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand and one items to be allowed for”(277). He uses clouds and storms and quicksands to convey that civilized life includes the same negativity included in the connotation of those conditions, but nonetheless, those too are apart of nature. The purpose of utilizing imagery is so evoke images people already have to connect with them on that level to make them understand that they must find a harmony and balance in the world. So, in order to restore order within one’s individual life, one must defy the social norms that distance themselves from nature to find harmony with it. Furthermore, his use of tone to exemplify his argument is also effective as he condemns people for living rushed, unfulfilled lives for the sake of prosperity and materialistic possessions. When Thoreau says that ”when we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality,”(279) he employs a critical tone by stating that people are blinded by these petty things that misconstrue
Henry David Thoreau was a philosopher, poet, and a very outspoken person about society. He discusses his opinions on how people should live in his essay “Where I Lived and What I Lived For.” Thoreau's philosophy of simplicity and individualism and self-sufficiency poses many dangers for communities as a whole. Although there are many setbacks, his philosophy is, however, still viable today.
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”). As evident by this quotation by Thoreau, his motives purely consist of living in the idealistic states of nature rather than that of “civilization”. Thoreau also stated, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life…”- (taken from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden”). Thoreau, in this statement shows that he is completely self reliant in the sense that he alone went out to nature to reap what he could and survive by his merits alone, sustaining himself only on what nature had to offer. While conversely McCandless could only survive with a
During the Transcendentalist movement, Henry David Thoreau was a leading transcendentalist whose work focused mainly on nature and adventure. Walden, or Life in the Woods is an exceptional example of a story based on adventure. In Thoreau’s account of his life at Walden pond, he first states, “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.” Through this quote Thoreau explains that he was tired of the complexity of normal life and desired to go on an adventure to live simply. Additionally, Thoreau states, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…,” which again reveals his motivation for new life by adventure and simplicity. Finally, as Thoreau concludes his account he states, “I left the woods
He does not disdain human companionship; in fact he values it when it comes on his own terms, as when his philosopher or poet friends come to call. Thoreau calls for people to be givers rather than takers in the economic game of life by “living deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life” (410). Thoreau claims that by reducing the unnecessary excess in our life, one can then contribute to society and give more than they take. Thoreau suggests on how to embark upon how to reduce the unnecessary items in our life by “[letting our] affairs be two or three, [and] instead of three meals a day, [eat] but one” (410). Thoreau also introduces the concept that self-reliance can be spiritual as well as economic, and explores the higher dimensions of individualism. In Transcendentalist thought the self centers itself in reality; every object external produces of the self that takes its reality from our inner selves. Self-reliance thus refers to the way the natural world and humankind rely on oneself to exist.
Both Thoreau and Mccandless took steps to live apart from others to simply free themselves from the limitations of society. As a matter of fact, the most notable similarity these two men shared was their strong disagreement with the attitude of the governments they lived with. Currency and government rule was nothing but an obstacle in their pursuit for more independent lives. Unlike Thoreau, “Mccandless went into the wilderness not primarily to ponder nature…but, rather, to explore the inner country of his own soul”(Krakauer 183). He did not know what Thoreau already knew, as a result, Mccandless learned later that “an extended stay in the wilderness inevitably directs one’s attention outward as much as inward, and it is impossible to live off the land without developing both a subtle understanding of, and a strong emotional bond with, that land and all it holds”(Krakauer 183). Ultimately both Mccandless and Thoreau shared alike principals but, sought separate
Thoreau and Emerson wrote the short stories Civil Disobedience and Nature and both if these show big transcendentalism ideas. The story Civil Disobedience mainly focuses on how the author does not think he should pay taxes for things he doesn’t support. We see Thoreau talk about how people should be allowed to refuse the government and that they should govern less. Thoreau also says that people should not support unjust laws and work harder towards ending something they don’t agree with. The short story Nature is about how being in nature affects you and makes you a better person. The authors main point is that when you are in nature it blocks out any outside influence and allows you to think for yourself. Being alone for Emerson allowed for him to feel different and be at one with his surroundings. Thoreau’s short story, “Civil Disobedience” and Emerson’s short story “Nature” are examples of Transcendentalism because they include intuition, non conformity, spiritual well being, and individualism.