Romanticism Vs Transcendentalism

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As said by well-known Dark Romantic, Nathaniel Hawthorne, “we dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep” (Hawthorne 5). Writer Edgar Allan Poe truly believes the fact that this quote is true. The American Transcendental movement first began as a protest against the general state of culture and society ( “Dark Romanticism”). Some well known Transcendentalists would include extremely intelligent individuals like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and many others. The birth of Dark Romanticism is a reaction to the movement of Transcendentalists (“Dark Romanticism”). Anti-Transcendentalists, also known as Dark Romantics, “found Transcendental beliefs far too optimistic and egotistical and reacted by modifying them in their prose …show more content…
Transcendentalists see nature as if it were a prized possession and very optimistic about what is to come. On the other hand, Anti-Transcendentalists believe that nature consists of terrible sins and a much more pessimistic view in comparison to the Transcendentalists. The self-destructive nature of the conscious mind grew among many Dark Romantics including Edgar Allen Poe. In “A Dream within a Dream” Poe explores the difference between our perceptions of life and the effects of time. The speaker kisses his spouse goodbye and suggests that everything in his life "is but a dream within a dream" (Poe 11). The speaker then stands on the shore of the ocean and holds grains of sand while he weeps. Although, he is having trouble keeping the sand in his hand and wonders if it is possible to even keep one grain. Poe’s “A Dream within a Dream” can be classified as Anti-Transcendental because it displays how simple your life can be taken away by the harmful truth of the world and the passage of …show more content…
Poe proves this point by describing the falling grains of sand out of the speaker’s hand as said in the poem, “O God! Can I not grasp” (Poe 19). The falling grains of sand represents the hourglass, which in turn represents the truthful reality of life. This reality shows that nothing is permanent in the world and destroys optimism (“Dark Romanticism”). Poe encourages the reader to ponder on what is reality and what is a dream. In Poe’s “A Dream within a Dream” the speaker is inside of a dream while already dreaming. Poe questions against the world in order to see the life he is actually living. In order to interpret if the life has been living is a dream. Dark Romantics are sure to prove that the cruel world is something that should be heavily questioned for its harmful truths and relatively evil disasters. Poe does this exactly by stating the fact that the speaker’s life and romance life is disappearing by the passage of time. There is no such thing as a never-ending beautiful life that is portrayed by the Transcendentalists, and the Dark Romantics are there to prove

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