Henry David Thoreau Essays

Civil Disobedience and Antigone

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech focuses on the importance of freedom and brotherhood in a nation and is intended to rally Americans to demonstrate their anger at the injustices of segregation and racism through “creative protest.” While King’s passion and anger at the status quo is obvious in the text, he specifically states that they “must not allow [their] [protest] to degenerate into physical violence.” He is pushing for defiance against the government. Antigone exhibits the…

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Walden and Transcendentalism

Henry Thoreau’s masterpiece, Walden or a Life in the Woods, shows the impact transcendentalism had on Thoreau’s worldview. Transcendentalism is a philosophy that asserts the primacy of the spiritual over the material. Transcendentalism puts the emphasis on spiritual growth and understanding as opposed to worldly pleasures. Thoreau’s idea of transcendentalism stressed the importance of nature and being close to nature. He believed that nature was a metaphor for spiritual enlightenment. A walk in the woods therefore was a search for…

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Transcendentalism; Positive or Negative

Transcendentalism is a social and philosophical movement that taught five tenets of how to live life. Those tenets being; Everything reflects the divine soul, God is in nature and man, use your intuition to relate to God and nature, be self-reliant and express your individualism, and be spontaneous and seize the day. Thoreau and Emerson reflect all of these tenets in their poems, and they’re shown in the character Mr. Keating in the movie Dead Poets Society. He teaches the…

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Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr

There is no doubt that there are many similarities between Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry Thoreau though they did not live in the same century. King himself declared that he was greatly influenced by Thoreau’s essay on civil disobedient. The two civil right activists had similar ideas on justice in the society. It is also believed that Thoreau’s work was also influenced by Ralph Emerson who initiated the thoughts about transcendentalism in him. Although some people believe that King…

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‘where I Lived and What I Lived For’ – Henry David Thoreau

Many of Henry D. Thoreau’s ideas are clearly seen in his piece of writing ‘Where I Lived and What I Lived For’. Through his work, not only do we learn about his experience in the woods at Walden Pond, but also about his values and the way he sees life, which he shares with his readers all throughout the chapter. In my opinion, of the most significant topics this chapter deals with is ‘the beauty of nature’. As said by…

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Religion and Individualism

Different countries have different cultures, traditions and values. They represent the image of the nation, people’s mentality, how they think and behave, and what they strive for and struggle for. With the help of them we judge of what is important in life of a person, of a nation, of a country. America is not an exception. Despite the great number of various ethnic groups that inhabit United States, there are things that unite all the people. Among them are…

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Comparing Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King on Unjust Laws

In today’s society, it is often unclear where to draw the line between good morals and effective government. It is for this reason that many times, laws that are enacted for the “good of the people” can be in direct conflict with a person’s conscience. Due to the various struggles that the United States has faced in building a government, this topic has been a popular discussion throughout American literature. Although they did not live during the same time, American…

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Henry David Thoreau, Less Is More, and Fenway Park

Henry David Thoreau, one of America’s most well-known New Englanders, would most probably be disappointed with recent proposals to dismantle Fenway Park in order to construct a more profitable baseball park. The past two decades have witnessed a pervasive sports trend in which professional sports franchises have sought to maximize revenues by abandoning or tearing down old stadiums in order to construct modern stadiums that incorporate a variety of other income-generating facilities into the larger sports stadium design. In Toronto,…

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Transcendentalist Movement Discussion

Question 1. Judging from the diction in both passages, what would you conclude about the education level of the two authors? What words and expressions help you to conclude this? In my opinion, both passages are highly educated. Both of them are interested in choosing the right words and sentence structure, so they could express their ideas for the audience. We can see in the essay of Emerson that he said, “A Hero sometimes says stuff and does stuff that makes…

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Self Reliance and Transcendentalism

Many people in our world are often trying to be self-reliant; trying to make it on their own and be original in thought and true to themselves. Many of those people end up conforming and doing what has been done in the past. They end up walking down the worn out path that so many have walked before. However, a famous writer named Ralph Waldo Emerson believed that you need to venture off the main path and explore new ideas…

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

The recent announcement by the government to declare Telengana as the 29th state with 10 districts and Hyderabad as a common Capital has opened a Pandora’s Box of similar clamors. Many groups have stepped up their game demanding for their own statehood. The government will have to ponder many factors before redrawing boundaries and splitting up states. ‘Nationalism’ has always remained the most controversial creed in the political theory. It cannot be merely defined as the casual association of people…

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Henry David Thoreau_ a Philosophical Reflection

Henry David Thoreau was an inexhaustible writer that encompassed poetry and philosophy within his narratives and created a style of writing that, for his time, was difficult to define and categorize. Because of this his works were often overlooked for the genius that was held within them as writers of his time had already begun to stray from the traditional stances of philosophy. However, one can easily survey the works of Henry David Thoreau and do so with an immense…

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Transcendentalists Case

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. -Ralph Waldo Emerson…

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Henry David Thoreau

“Simplify! was Thoreau’s motto” in his life (Stanley 20). He showed people how to live simple life by living a simple life in Walden. Due to Thoreau’s efforts and works on nature people considers a nature an important part in their lives, as a result nature became one of the top topics in 21st century. Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts (Meltzer 11). His parents were John Thoreau and Cynthia Dunbar Thoreau (12). Henry…

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Thoreau and Transcendentalism

Henry David Thoreau’s Walden is an anthem to transcendentalism. Among the transcendentalists’ core beliefs was the inherent goodness of both people and nature. Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions—particularly religion and politics—corrupted the purity of the individual. They believed that people were at their best when they were self-reliant. The central recurring theme that emerges in transcendentalism is a return to nature. Thoreau sets out for Walden Pond to observe, learn, and explore, indicative of his transcendentalist beliefs. In…

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