Transcendentalism: Ralph Waldo Emerson And Henry David Thoreau

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Transcendentalism is not a word that can be defined. It is a concept brought about by various writers to include Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The world has dramatically changed since their time period, making it an interesting topic to debate upon what they would think of today’s society. Their opinions on whether they supported current culture would definitely vary, depending on the topic at hand. Customs such as technology, going to school, and going to Mass weekly would spark strong opinions in the minds of people like Emerson and Thoreau, and their thoughts would gather around transcendentalist ideas and principles. Technology is a major renovation since the time of Emerson and Thoreau. The information and entertainment …show more content…

Attending school is another aspect of modern-day society that is contradictory to transcendentalism. They would not appreciate the concept of constantly memorizing facts and taking exams, for it is pointless to memorize the opinions of others. The truth is not in the thoughts and works of others, it is in your own thoughts. An opposing view might ask, how can an individual avoid school? It is the law for children to attend school. Thoreau would respond, “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison” (Thoreau 552). Thoreau believes that if one has to break the law to follow the truth, then that is what one must do. There is no reason for anyone to conform to society if there is no truth there. “The virtue in most request is conformity” (Emerson 421). Explained perfectly by Ralph Waldo Emerson, society wants you to conform to the current way of doing things. “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist” (Emerson 421). For one to be a just and honorable man, they must be a nonconformist and go against society, as stated by Emerson. Attending school to memorize facts a foolish way of learning to transcendentalists, as shown by the writings of Emerson and

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