Emerson And Thoreau

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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It is human nature to pick a role model, someone to look up to, someone whose actions or words give comfort and guidance throughout life. In most cases, both mentor and mentee have similar views and philosophies about living life. Most think that a role model has to be a famous actor or musician, but not for Henry David Thoreau, an writer and philosopher. Thoreau's mentor was by far more interesting than any actor or musician could ever be. The role model of Thoreau was a man by the name of Ralph Waldo Emerson, also a writer and philosopher and "one of the most influential of American thinkers, yet he had no elaborate, formal system of thought and he never attempted to create one" (Emerson 569). Thoreau, in fact, is known as Emerson's disciple because he proved many of Emerson's theories. These two men have many of the same beliefs but the aspects of their writing are much different.

"For Thoreau, as well as Emerson, self-reliance and independence of mind ranked above all" (Thoreau 583). The writings of both Emerson and Thoreau thrive on the theories of the transcendentalism philosophical movement, the theories of science and reason. If their writings were to be dissected down to the theme, self-reliance and independence would be found in both. Thoreau agreed with many of Emerson's ideas which played a big role in the similarities of their themes and philosophies in their writings.

In Emerson's "A Nonconformist" and Thoreau's "From Walden", they mention the struggles their societies were having with God and the devil and the way they stand on government. Their thoughts on government were that no one should have to deal with officials with higher power than themselves, instead they should live as one within nature.

Thoreau and Emerson crossed...



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