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Transcendentalism Essay

846 words - 4 pages

Transcendentalism Essay
Transcendentalism is the system of philosophy that leads to reality. William Bryant, Henry Thoreau, and Ralph Emerson illustrate the ideas of transcendentalism through their works. Although transcendentalism is an opinionated subject, there are still universal judgments about the philosophy. An argument presented in Thanatopsis (Bryant’s work) is that constantly worrying about death is pointless because it’s a perpetual fact of life. There is no stopping it. Bryant, Thoreau, and Emerson employs paradox, pathos, and logos to illustrate their believes on individualism, death, and self-reliance.
Henry Thoreau’s Walden elucidates the belief of individualism. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts on life,” (1-4). In this excerpt, Thoreau believes people shall learn to choose their paths of life independently and purposely. The “essential facts of life” are often time only accepted as material necessities. Although materials are essential, human existence triumphs it. “When I came to die, discover that I had not lived,” (7-9). Thoreau utilizes paradox to explain that is it evident no person shall die without living life first. Life is not just physical appearance, but also self-fulfillment. Being lonely in solitude is also a paradoxical idea Thoreau illustrates to achieve individualism. The idea shows that being in solitude does not automatically cause loneliness. One can be lonelier with a room full of people, and be at self-peace in an empty room. Thoreau reflects and captures the concept of individualism in Walden through his uses of paradox.
William Bryant elaborates on the elements of death through his uses of pathos in Thanatopsis. “To him who in the love of nature holds communion with her visible forms, she speaks a various language; for his grayer hours she has a voice of gladness.” (1-4). In these lines nature is portrayed as a mother to all people in the world. Through the season changes, temperature changes, and currents in the sea, Mother Nature communicates with her children of Earth. When Mother Nature speaks gladness her children respond with joyous attitudes. “So live, that when thy summons come to join the innumerable caravan.” (73-74). Bryant uses pathos in this excerpt to describe death. He wants people to enjoy their time living because everyone will eventually hear the summons of death. All humans will experience death; it’s a perpetual fact of life. Bryant illustrates the cold reality of death crucially, but also explains there is...

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