When first reading about Transcendentalism, confusion arose about what the word actually meant. However, after reading about it through several different sites, I have come to the understanding that it is talking about what each of the authors was rebelling against. It was what they perceived to be wrong with society and they wanted to correct it. It was what they wanted to be different in their society. Therefore, they came up with the term Transcendentalism. Transcend means “to pass beyond the limits of” (Hacker). This is what the authors were trying to do. They wanted to correct misconceptions in society, so that society would see the world around us as they saw it.
In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature, he wants people to learn how to see things differently through nature. His belief is that people are so busy with their lives that they forget to stop and look at the natural beauty in things around us. In the first chapter, Emerson talks about looking at the stars and rediscovering the eternal, thereby making each experience brand new. In his words, “Nature, in its ministry to man, is not only the material, but is also the process and the result. All the parts incessantly work into each other's hands for the profit of man” (Emerson). He was trying to tell us to stop and take a look around, because in the end, that’s what is important in life. It is not the things man has made but it is what God gave us in the nature around us. As I have heard throughout the years, though I have no idea of its origin, we need to “Stop and take the time to smell the roses”.
Next we have Thoreau who wrote “Where I lived, and What I Lived for”. In his writing, he reflected on the simplicity of life and how it was important for us to realize the important things in life. Thoreau has big dreams of living on a big farm on lots of acreage. However, his plans fell through and he ended up living in the woods and building himself a small house. Through...