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Transcendentalism: Walt Whitman as American Influence - Essay Example

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This essay is concerned more particularly with American Transcendentalism. His poem illustrates the underpinnings of Walt Whitman’s literary contributions to transcendentalism. These underpinnings are predicated on a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural environment…
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Transcendentalism: Walt Whitman as American Influence
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Download file to see previous pages In many ways, this type of philosophy encouraged individuals to feel as well as to think for themselves, to determine on their own what felt good and just, and to reject external impositions of fatalism and dogma (Meese, 1985). More specifically, transcendentalist literature espoused a higher spiritual reality, a reality which could be used to live our lives in this young experimental country called America differently and more vibrantly. Walt Whitman was one of the most articulate and creative American transcendentalist writers. His poem, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”, is illustrative of this higher spiritual state.As a preliminary matter, this poem seeks to establish harmony between the individual and the natural environment; more specifically, Whitman removes the individual from the dogmas of religion and the competitive rigors of modern industrial life as it existed in his era. This spiritual setting, man communing with nature, is the essence of Whitman’s transcendentalism. We transcend, in effect, the spiritual constraints imposed by rigid Puritan protocols and the sensual blinders imposed by the demands of competitive commerce. In the poem, Whitman declares
The main idea is that nature provides the truest beauty, the deepest spiritual satisfaction, and all of our necessities. The reader need not visit the Manhattan spires to stare in awe at their height. He may, instead, look at the trees and the mountains. The reader need not push and shove to purchase food in a crowded supermarket; quite the contrary, the prairies provide a more relaxed and natural place to grow one’s own food. In the final analysis, this poem is first and foremost about the individual’s natural place within his environment. The individual and nature are harmonious. Conflict is elsewhere. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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