Transcendentalism: Movement In The Nineteenth Century

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In order to discuss a topic, one must know what said topic is. Transcendentalism is a movement in the nineteenth century and it encourages the idea of individualism, dislike for materialism, a strong connection to nature, and to rely on one’s intuition above all else. This belief and the well-educated people who followed it were decades ahead of their time, as it was for self-independence and was against slavery. These ideas are demonstrated in the story.
Henry David Thoreau and his brother, John Thoreau, are teaching a class to their young students out in a field when Henry notices that a woman, Ellen Sewell, is scribbling away at her notebook. He asks her why she is writing, she states that she wants to remember what he is saying. Henry advises
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Henry asks Williams what his full name is, and the former slave replies that it is his old master’s name, “Mr. Williams’ Williams” he says. This scene also displays the lack of materialism that comes with being a transcendentalist when Williams asks why Henry lives in such an awful shack and Henry says that to him, less is more. Henry tells Williams that is would be nifty to have a first name if he’s going to be a free man from now on. Williams suggests “Mr. Henry’s Williams” when Henry brusquely interrupts him, saying he ought to get out of the mindset that he belongs to somebody and if he doesn’t acknowledge this, then he’ll end up right back where he started. The former slave takes this into consideration, but refuses to give up the chance to use Henry’s name. He says “Henry Williams” out loud to see how it sounds, and Henry offers the David in his name if Williams would prefer something else. But Henry #2 is thrilled to have his own first name now, and to have it come from the first person to show him any respect in a very long time (if not the first time ever) is just the icing on the cake. In fact, he’s so thrilled, he immediately shouts out his new name as loud as he

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