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Transcendentalism and Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

Paper type: Essay Pages: 4 (762 words)

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Transcendentalism began in the 19th century in Concord, Massachusetts. It was a literary, religious, and philosophical movement that consisted of a group of optimistic people who shared a common outlook and interests. (Transcendentalism) “Transcendentalism referred to the idea in determining the ultimate reality of God, the universe, self, and other important matters. They believed one must transcend everyday human experiences in the physical world. ” They also believed in the idea of trying to prefect themselves and others.

(Beers) Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the main leaders who supported transcendentalism through his different collection of poems and essays.

Overall, transcendentalism covers a large range of topics and beliefs that are shown through many literacy poems and essays. Emerson’s transcendental poem, The Rhodora, is proof that Emerson was a true transcendentalist. Emerson shows qualities of optimism throughout The Rhodora. The mood of the poem starts off in a sluggish or dark place.

In the beginning he uses metaphors to show how alone the flower is by comparing it to the word ‘desert’.

He then says the flower falls into a black pool to show how pretty the simple petals looked to the ugly water. Emerson then shows his impatience with those who would elevate Man above nature. He then answers the purpose of the Rhodora flower, and states that one’s eyes must appreciate the beauty of the flower for their own sake. Lastly, he says that since God made Men and nature, the Rhodora should be given the same honor and respect.

(Overview: The Rhodora) “The self- same power that brought me there, brought you”. (Ralph Waldo Emerson Texts) In all, Emerson showed many different ideas and topics into the poem, The Rhodora. Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a philosopher who truly believed in transcendentalism. During his life he spoke out against materialism, formal religion, and slavery while lecturing about his ideas. By being a transcendentalist, he believed in reality and that knowledge transcended the everyday American.

He also believed in a spiritual universe governed by a mystic Over-soul that was a constant topic in many of his works. Most of his works were topics on Man, nature, and God. The tones of his essays and poems were optimistic, but he never forgot about the realities of life. His most famous works were Self Reliance, Spiritual Laws, and Nature which all contained transcendental topics. During this time, he surrounded himself by fellow transcendentalist. Brunson Alcott, George Ripley, and Theodore Parker were his close associates that helped him spread transcendental beliefs.

At the end of his life he became America’s leading transcendentalist and was respected by most Americans as a wise and sincere man. (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Through Emerson’s poems and essays he uses many transcendental ideas and beliefs. For instance, in The Rhodora, he starts off by showing that people need to have individuality and independence within their selves. He also states numerous times that nature is beautiful. He uses figurative language to show and convince the reader that the Rhodora is beautiful and needs the respect and consideration that people give to Man.

Emerson then shows his frustration and anger by questioning why people are down-grading nature. By saying that the Rhodora should be given honor and respect, it shows he believes that Man and nature came from the same self-power. The quote mentioned in the second paragraph proved that Emerson thought man and nature not only speak the same language but speak for each other. (Overview: The Rhodora) With all of the sayings, quotes, and ideas from Emerson, it defiantly shows that he was a true and authentic transcendentalist.

To conclude, transcendentalism was a new and unusual way of thinking in the 1800’s. Ralph Waldo Emerson was the leader who showed his opinions and beliefs through many of his writings. His topics included Man, nature, and God. With Emerson’s strong motivation and determination of spreading transcendentalism, American literature has grown and expanded its way of thinking. Works Cited Beers, Kylene, etal. “New Ideas Take Root”, Elements of Literature 5th Course. For S. C: H, R, W, 2010.

Print. “Overview: ‘The Rhodora’. ” Poetry for Students. Ed. David A. Galens. Vol. 17. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center. Web. 3 Dec. 2012 “Ralph Waldo Emerson. ” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998, Gale Biography in Context. Web. 3 Dec. 2012. “Ralph Waldo Emerson Texts. ” 2009. 4. Dec. 2012. < http://www. emersoncentral. com/poems/ rhodora. htm> “Transcendentalism (1815-1850). ” American Eras. Detroit: Gale, 1997. Gale Biography in Context. Web. 3 Dec. 2012.

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Transcendentalism and Ralph Waldo Emerson. (2016, Dec 05). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/transcendentalism-and-ralph-waldo-emerson-essay

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