Walden and Transcendentalism

Henry Thoreau’s masterpiece, Walden or a Activity in the Woods, shows the appulse transcendentalism had on Thoreau’s worldview. Transcendentalism is a aesthetics that asserts the ability of the airy over the material. Transcendentalism puts the accent on airy advance and compassionate as adjoin to carnal pleasures. Thoreau’s abstraction of transcendentalism fatigued the accent of attributes and actuality abutting to nature. He believed that attributes was a allegory for airy enlightenment. A airing in the dupe accordingly was a chase for airy enlightenment. One should attending ‘through’ nature, not alone ‘at’ her. In Walden, Thoreau’s abstraction of transcendentalism is burst into three areas. The aboriginal is the accent of the airy apple as adjoin to actual wants. He accentuates this abstraction by answer how the concrete apple alone exists so that souls can acquaintance activity to the fullest. Thoreau speaks a abundant accord about concrete acreage in the aboriginal chapter, advantaged “Economy”. He keeps a abundant almanac of the bread-and-butter amount of his adventure into the dupe and explains to his readers his benevolence for the bodies who accept abundant actual possessions. Thoreau states, “When I accept met an immigrant decrepit beneath a array which independent his all…I accept pitied him, not because that was his all, but because he had all that to carry. ”[1] The additional transcendentalism affair is the abstraction of individuality- the abstraction that an alone is different and should act according to his personality and ideals. Individuality is a basal abstraction of the transcendentalists and they durably believed that one should chase for ‘self-discovery’. Thoreau observed, “Every man is the architect of a temple, alleged his body, to the god he worships, afterwards a appearance absolutely his own, nor can he get off by beating marble instead. ”[2] He emphasized the “style” as an alone style, one that was characteristic to anniversary person. He alike told his readers in Walden that he went into the dupe to chase for ability and truth. Self-discovery and individuality were additionally attributed to any alternative characters in Walden that were mentioned. Thoreau takes abundant pains to alarm anniversary character, alike bottomward to the farmer’s “wrinkled, sibyl-like, cone-headed”[3] baby in affiliate 10, “Baker Farm”. He makes abiding his readers accept the different attributes of anniversary alone in his experiences. As Thoreau already said, “It is what a man thinks of himself that absolutely determines his fate. ” The final arresting transcendentalism affair bidding in Walden is the accent of experiences. Transcendentalists believed claimed acquaintance is how one learned. Literally, bodies abstruse aggregate the adamantine way. Thoreau approved this acutely in the agreement of active in the dupe for two years. He explains in Walden that he capital to acquaintance active artlessly for an continued aeon of time. Notice that Thoreau did not speculate, draw conclusions, or alike ask addition who had approved it. The alone way, in his mind, that he was activity to apprentice about active artlessly was to abide it personally. In speaking about activity in the chapter, “Where I lived and What I Lived For”, Thoreau said,“…if [life] accepted to be mean, why again to get the accomplished and 18-carat abasement of it, and broadcast its abasement to the world; or if it were sublime, to apperceive it by acquaintance and be able to accord a accurate annual of it in my abutting excursion. ”[4] He emphasized active and activity aggregate to be able to accept activity and its meaning. Walden is generally beheld as artlessly a backer of ecology affliction and nature. However, it persuades the clairvoyant to do abundant added than booty affliction of nature. In fact, attributes is not alike the best arresting ideal in Thoreau’s writings. The apriorism of Walden is acutely declared in the aboriginal few pages of the book. Thoreau writes, “With account to luxuries and comforts, the wisest accept anytime lived a added simple and bare activity than the poor…None can be an candid or astute eyewitness of animal activity but from the angle arena of what we should alarm autonomous poverty. [5] The absoluteness of the “Economy” affiliate is adherent to actual backing and Thoreau’s abstraction that the concrete pleasures abide alone to advice the body endure. Very little time is spent on the advantage of nature. Back it is mentioned, it is shown, as was declared above, that attributes serves as a array of attractive bottle to airy ideals. Because this book was quoted generally by abolitionist groups in 1960-70, Walden became a assurance of defiance and apostasy to the bourgeois community. However, there are a few account of which Christians can approve. The aboriginal is non-materialism. Thoreau quotes Matthew 6:19 saying, “By a appearing fate, frequently alleged necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and blight will base and thieves breach through and steal. It is a fool’s life, as they will acquisition back they get to the end of it, if not before. ”[6] He takes abundant pains throughout the absolute book to accomplish abiding his readers accept that actual backing should not be the alone affair in which bodies abode all of their happiness. The additional abstraction Christians can acclaim is the abstraction of individuality. As was mentioned above, Thoreau kept the Transcendentalist abstraction of a person’s alone account in his writings. Because of this belief, he was one of the best abrupt animal rights activists in his lifetime. He wrote A Plea for Captain John Brown acknowledging John Brown’s efforts to end slavery. Thoreau said, “I do not accept in architecture statues to those who still alive in our hearts, whose basal accept not yet burst in the apple about us, but I would rather see the bronze of Captain Brown in the Massachusetts State-House yard, than that of any alternative man whom I know. I rejoice that I alive in this age, that I am his contemporary. [7] His acceptance in the basal animal rights of every man stemmed from his abutment of individuality and the different account of every being on this planet. Alike admitting there are a few account that Christians can acclaim in Walden, there is one of which they should be wary. This abstraction is the abstraction that apostasy and defiance appear government is adequate if one believes the government is wrong. Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his acclaim for Thoreau, articulate this idea, adage that Thoreau adjoin the government. Thoreau disrespected government admiral by abnegation to obey tax laws and paid for it by spending a abrupt time in jail. However, abounding people, instead of acumen the abrogating access Thoreau was creating, arcadian him for his ‘patriotic’ stance. Thoreau says in Walden, “One afternoon, abreast the end of the aboriginal summer…I was bedeviled and put into jail, because, as I accept abroad accompanying I did not pay a tax to, or admit the ascendancy of, the accompaniment which buys and sells men, women, and children, like beasts at the aperture of its senate-house. ”[8] He did not admit the ascendancy of the government because of the bullwork in the country. Alike admitting bullwork is immoral, Romans 13:1 acutely states, “Let every being be accountable to the administering authorities. For there is no ascendancy except from God, and those that abide accept been instituted by God. ”[9] The Bible articulates that Christians charge be accountable to those whom God has placed into authority. Thoreau discourages this abstraction and instead institutes an attitude of rebellion. Christians should be alert of this attitude and worldview. Very few instances action in which Christians should insubordinate adjoin authority. The alone instance area they should insubordinate is beneath a government which demands that its citizens balk God’s orders. Walden was accounting abounding years ago and yet, association can still apprentice from the author’s words. Whether the account are adverse or helpful, anybody can accede that Thoreau was a able Transcendentalist with a audible mindset. This mindset affects anybody who reads his works. Emerson already articulate that Thoreau aggressive abounding about him through his abstracted thinking. Thoreau has inspired, and will abide to inspire, abundant bodies through his book, Walden or a Activity in the Woods. ----------------------- [1] Henry David Thoreau, Walden ; and Civil Defiance (New York: Barnes and Nobles Classics, 2003), 56. 2] Henry David Thoreau, Walden ; and Civil Defiance (New York: Barnes and Nobles Classics, 2003), 175. [3] Henry David Thoreau, Walden ; and Civil Defiance (New York: Barnes and Nobles Classics, 2003), 161 [4] Henry David Thoreau, Walden ; and Civil Defiance (New York: Barnes and Nobles Classics, 2003), 74 (brackets added) [5] Henry David Thoreau, Walden ; and Civil Defiance (New York: Barnes and Nobles Classics, 2003), 16 [6] Henry David Thoreau, Walden ; and Civil Defiance (New York: Barnes and Nobles Classics, 2003), 9 [7] "Thoreau--On John Brown," Virginia Commonwealth University, http://www. cu. edu/engweb/transcendentalism/authors/thoreau/johnbrown. html (accessed September 15, 2010). [8] Henry David Thoreau, Walden ; and Civil Defiance (New York: Barnes and Nobles Classics, 2003), 137 [9] "Passage: Romans 13:1 (ESV Bible Online)," Good News / Crossway Home - Christian Books, Gospel Tracts, and the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, http://www. gnpcb. org/esv/search/? q=Romans 13:1 (accessed September 15, 2010).

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