My Reaction to Transcendentalism
After reading the Transcendentalist works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, I was surprised at my reaction to them. From what I had originally heard, the Transcendentalist works were boring essays. However, after reading them, I discovered that I can relate to many things that Emerson and Thoreau discuss in their papers. Though I liked Emerson more than I liked Thoreau, both of them impressed me with their ability to take such a strong stand on issues that most people can identify with.
One Transcendentalist piece that we read was "Nature" by Ralph Waldo Emerson. This excerpt describes Emerson's views on nature and how it affects man. He says that in nature, man becomes like a child and is able to enjoy a "perfect exhilaration." When he experiences the calm and peacefulness of nature, Emerson feels as though he has returned to reason and faith and has found his true self. He then goes on to describe how he becomes a "transparent eyeball," seeing all but not being seen himself; it is as if he is invisible. After reading this, I was a little confused by his language and strange metaphors. But then I realized that Emerson is right. When we take a hike, or go for a walk, we are experiencing nature the way are meant to experience it. We can go back to our roots and find the perfect way to fit in with our surroundings, to harmonize with the world around us. This excerpt made me think of the peace and calm of a perfectly harmonized world.
Another piece we read was "Self-Reliance," also by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I also enjoyed reading this piece because it discusses a human's urge to be himself, even when society and civilization try to stop us. He says that without trying no one ever knows what he is truly capable of. If we let the influence of others affect us, we can never really experience our lives the way we were created to. We are also sometimes afraid to express our whole selves, and we are...
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