In Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Self Reliance" and Henry David Thoreau's If Emerson had made the relationship between conformity and nonconformity in his and conforming to that society somewhat, helps us find that common ground. The two authors Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau, are similar in many ways. The first example would be their love towards the nature, and their. The relationship and differences between man and nature in Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau was very close author who.
Harmon Smith emphasizes their personal bond, but also shows how their relationship affected their thought and writing, and was in turn influenced by their careers.
Without Emerson's interest and support, it is unlikely that Thoreau could have expended the energy on writing that enabled him to achieve greatness. By inviting Thoreau into his home to live during two different periods in the s, Emerson effectively made Thoreau "one of the family.
Emerson also broadened Thoreau's horizon immeasurably by introducing him to an ever-widening circle of friends and colleagues. Although the bond between Thoreau and Emerson was strong, their needs were often greatly at variance.
While this led to a prolonged period of estrangement between them, they were ultimately able to reconcile their differences. Many years after Thoreau died, Emerson could look back over his long life and say that Henry had been his best friend. Since the thoughts and feelings of the two men are so well documented in their journals and letters, Smith is able to trace the pattern of their emotional involvement in great detail.
My Friend, My Friend
What emerges is both a remarkable portrait of their relationship and an intimate look at the nature of friendship itself.
At this meeting, Emerson suggested to Thoreau that he should keep a journal; Thoreau began one that day and kept the habit throughout his life.
In Thoreau accepted the invitation to move in with the Emerson family. Within two weeks In January ofeach of the two men suffered a loss which strongly influenced the shape of his life and of their friendship. During this time, Emerson purchased land on Walden Pond, and helped Thoreau to accumulate the tools and resources to build a cabin to which he could retire in order to finish his book A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.
Thoreau's Relationship With Emerson
When Emerson returned, both men seemed to have changed, and neither appreciated the changes in the other. According to John Ronan, the outer change in Emerson was alienating to Thoreau. Over the course of the next decade, Emerson became more successful as a lecturer and more prominent in the public eye.
Although Thoreau began to lecture occasionally, much of his time was spent retreating into both the finishing of Week and the revision of Walden. The two men continued to interact, but it is apparent in studying their journals that the relationship was strained; there were disappointments, frustrations and misunderstandings on both sides.
InEmerson became ill with a serious case of measles, and the fear that he might die caused Thoreau to seek a reconciliation with him that seems to have restored their friendship. When Thoreau died of tuberculosis inEmerson gave the address at his funeral. When published as an essay, that address not only eulogized Thoreau but also became, according to Buell, the most influential piece written on Thoreau: The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.
My Friend, My Friend | University of Massachusetts Press
Too many people in society conform to what the government says is right and moral, when the true meaning of right or moral comes from what each individual holds to be what is right. To become a true individual is to make every decision based upon your own personal belief of its morality, no matter what society says, and to act upon your belief accordingly. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.
Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.
Emerson tended to promote individualism in thought and action, and promote the idea that individualism allowed one to survive in a changing society. Although Emerson and Thoreau were appreciated by many people -especially the transcendentalists such as Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Wallace Stevens, Hart Crane, and Robert Frost, and famous political leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King,Jr- there were several criticisms on their doctrine of individualism and non-conformity.
Thoreau's Relationship With Emerson | The Connection
It is very surprising to find a passage which claims that Emerson and Thoreau were not individualists on the internet site of individualists: But underneath the surface, the their philosophy was rooted in anti-individualist religious doctrines.
If Emerson had made the relationship between conformity and nonconformity in his philosophy explicit, he might have said, "Whoso would be a nonconformist must first conform to God. People need some sort of common ground to compromise on, that's true, but society, and conforming to that society somewhat, helps us find that common ground. However, they gave intellectual definition to a diffuse cultural tendency in need of a spokesman. Nineteenth-century Americans earned the world's respect with their business talent and inventiveness, but from the start world opinion berated them for their individualistic attitudes.
What Emerson said to the world, in effect, was that individualism was the virtue that made Americans' achievement possible.