The origination of the Transcendentalist movement was quite interesting and a repeated theme in the writings studied. Transcendentalism was a literary movement in the first half of the 19th century. The philosophical theory contained such aspects as self-examination, the celebration of individualism, and the belief that the fundamental truths existed outside of human experience. Fulfillment of this search for knowledge came when one gained an acute awareness of beauty and truth, and communicated with nature to find union with the soul. When this occurred, one was cleansed of materialistic aims, and was left with a sense of self-reliance and purity. Two authors who were among the leaders of the movement were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, whose works Nature, Self-Reliance, and Walden brought America to the forefront of the transcendentalist movement. The first, most important thing to mention about Ralph Waldo Emerson is that he was not a Transcendentalist philosopher (Bloom 1). Emerson was a poet, critic, essayist, and a believer of morals (Bloom 2). Many people look at what he wrote in his books and essays, and they took his ideas from his speeches and turned them into a way of life. His ideas and beliefs earned him the role as the chief spokesman for American Transcendentalism (Siepmann 300). The tone of his work was focused on self-reliance and the problem of how to live. His writings provoked people to ask how instead of what and not we but I (Unger 1). Emerson’s essays spoke to people of the 19th century that were ready for individuality and a new optimism that liked God, nature, and man (Masterpieces 258). His essays tell the importance of a man that goes on through life like he represents not only himself, but also every other person he sees and meets (Masterpieces 258). He used his writings to challenge traditional thought (Siepmann 300). Thoreau, while focusing on matters of the self in many of his…
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