Thoreau and Transcendentalism Essay

Henry David Thoreau’s Walden is an anthem to transcendental philosophy. Among the transcendentalists’ nucleus beliefs was the built-in goodness of both people and nature. Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions—particularly faith and politics—corrupted the pureness of the person. They believed that people were at their best when they were autonomous. The cardinal repeating subject that emerges in transcendental philosophy is a return to nature. Thoreau sets out for Walden Pond to detect. learn. and explore. declarative mood of his transcendentalist beliefs.

In Walden. Thoreau explains his strong beliefs of transcendental philosophy through his imagination of nature and grasp of Nature’s sounds. particularly in the climactic seventeenth chapter. “Spring” . Thoreau discovers that one nice thing about life in the forests “was that [ he ] should hold the leisure and chance to see the spring semen in” ( 1138 ) . He surveies the ice thaw and listens for birds. and by mid-March. he has heard a bluebird. song-sparrow. and red-wing.

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With the yearss passing. he besides notes the deepness of the ice on the pool. The ice is still a pes midst when he hears these birds. Populating in a clime of four wholly different seasons. and being off from the changeless blare of civilisation ( except for the railway and church bells ) . makes this procedure of detecting the debut of Spring unique for Thoreau. Little delights Thoreau more than watching rills of sand and clay “burst” and “overflow” through the snow in Bankss. such as those on the bank by the railway.

Sing “the assorted sunglassess of the sand” . “singularly rich and agreeable ( 1139 ) . makes him experience as though he “stood in the research lab of the Artist who made the universe and me” ( 1139 ) . Thoreau sees these small watercourses replicated in tree foliages. blood vass. and ice crystals. In this manner. the “hillside illustrated the rule of all the operations of Nature” ( 1141 ) . In this same subdivision of “Spring” . Thoreau makes a important connexion between the transcendentalists and their spiritual beliefs.

Thoreau refers to God as “the Artist who made the universe and me” ( 1140 ) . a transcendentalist apprehension of the Godhead. He compares adult male to a “mass of dissolving clay” ( 1140 ) with fingers and toes foliages and the ear as lichen. repeating the image of God as a thrower in Jeremiah. Harmonizing to Thoreau. the Earth is non a dodo. but instead on-going prowess. He perceives that the Earth is a living animal and “nothing inorganic” exists ( 1141 ) . a testimonial to the fact that it is ever in procedure. One can see God face-to-face by analyzing Nature. Thoreau uses beautiful linguistic communication to make the image of Nature being pregnant.

He explains the life-like signifiers that can be seen everyplace in Nature with the sentence: “No admiration that the Earth expresses itself externally in foliages. it so labours with the thought inwardly” ( 1140. accent added ) ; Nature is pregnant with an abstract and metaphysical thought that is coming out in the signifier of a foliage. As Nature gives birth. her bowels are exposed. showing her as the “mother of humanity” ( 1141 ) . Bowelss are evidently something internal. something one would non needfully see. and the fact that Nature is exposing herself is note-worthy for Thoreau.

When the snow has slightly melted. Thoreau takes notice of the “withered flora which had withstood the winter” ( 1142 ) . The ruddy squirrels move under Thoreau’s house and chirp continually. even when he stomps on the floor. He is thrilled to see the first sparrow of the season and to hear the birds’ vocals once more. Walden Pond continues runing. opening up “canals” on all sides. A big piece of ice has broken off the “main body” ( 1143 ) and a song-sparrow sings to help its farther breakage. A “ribbon of water” glisters in the Sun. The pool is “full of hilarity and youth” ( 1143 ) .

In all of this. Thoreau sees “the contrast between winter and spring” ( 1143 ) and notes that “Walden was dead and is alive again” ( 1143 ) . The alteration from Winter to Spring seems instantaneous. make fulling Thoreau’s house with light. and he hears a redbreast sing as if he has non heard one for a thousand old ages. The usage of imagination and sounds in this subdivision of “Spring” exhibit Thoreau’s exhilaration about the changing of seasons and the terminal of a long. cold. “dead” Winter. Later in the chapter. Thoreau goes fishing. He hears a unusual “rattling” sound and looks up to see a hawk surging overhead. “with proud trust in the Fieldss of air” ( 1145 ) .

It looked as if it had ne’er set pes on land and had its nest in the clouds. Thoreau catches sliver. gold. and copper colored fish. which look like gems when all strung together. His forenoon fishing venture is proof plenty of immortality for Thoreau. as evidenced when he proclaims that “there needs no stronger cogent evidence of immortality. All things must populate in such a light” ( 1146 ) . He besides “love [ s ] to see that Nature is so prevailing with life that myriads can be afforded to be sacrificed and suffered to feed on one another” ( 1146 ) . and watching a vulture devour carrion or seeing a dead Equus caballus on the side of the route reminds him of humanity’s wellness and strength.

His ability to face decease of life things shows his credence of death’s inevitableness and life’s continuity. In Walden. Henry David Thoreau defines his ain personal apprehension of transcendental philosophy. For him. the Godhead is most sublimely expressed in nature. The overruling subject of Thoreau’s “Spring” is rebirth. a Christian construct that Thoreau applies to nature.

With the surfacing of spring. he is reborn along with his milieus. and his euphory in depicting nature reveals his positive and passionate position. Transcendentalism is the term through which Thoreau can explicate coming to an apprehension of the Godhead and man’s topographic point in nature at Walden Pond. For him. the function of God as an “artist” ( 1140 ) is animating. After life in the forests next to Walden Pond for two old ages. Henry David Thoreau developed his ain thoughts of transcendental philosophy. an of import religious brotherhood between nature and oneself.


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