“To vastness of the world, and how much society

    “To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.” This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature is a perfect example of what transcendental attitudes express. Transcendental attitudes are modes of expression of the limitless mind of a human, that has been diminished and soiled by society. Transcendentalism is meant to liberate the human mindscape from societies corrupted thoughts and formalities and revert the mind to its purest form. These transcendental attitudes can be seen in the mid-eighteenth century American literature. These attitudes can be seen in the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickinson.    Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, a lecturer, and most importantly, a transcendental poet. Emerson is well known for many of his works; The Over-Soul, Circles, The Poet, Experience,  and most importantly, Nature. In this poem, Emerson depicts a lush and beautiful forest full of life and beauty like no other and how it pales in comparison with his previous life in the city. He sees himself as an omnipresent being, overseeing all of the vastness of the world, and how much society has lost touch with with natures purest essence, life. He states that society has put metaphorical ‘scales’ in our eyes, blinding us from nature’s wonder and how if we manage to reconnect with nature, we shall see clearly. “We must live the life we dream of”, he once said. Emerson wants us to live life to its full, limitless potential. Emerson’s work inspired many but there was only one who was willing to put this transcendence to the test.    Henry David Thoreau was another transcendental poet who disobeyed societal normalities and went to live in the forest, the very same forest where Emerson was inspired to write Nature. Thoreau was living a miserable life, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”. He needed an escape from the chaotic societal norm so, inspired by Emerson, he set off to see if transcendence truly existed. He documented his day to day life in his, now famous Walden. While he was living in the forest, he built a small house, nothing much, but he compared it to a palace in the sky, where he finally belonged. “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life”, Thoreau once said. He wanted to experience, first hand what life was willing to offer him compared to his tedious life in societies routine labor. Thoreau managed to live in the forest for two years before returning back to the city, a bit hypocritical. But In the two years of him living in the forest, attempting to remove routine from his life, he noticed something quite odd. He noticed that he always walked to and fro in the same path, no matter where he would go, wearing down the foliage. He found out that the human psyche desired order and routine.” If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” We must pace ourselves and reduce the unnecessary clutter from our lives and to see and appreciate life in its true meaning. There is one other who saw what the world was to give, even if it meant to leave society as a whole.    Emily Dickinson was quite the mysterious woman through her life, finding a love that never existed, locking herself away from society, but she was one of the most transcendental poets of them all. She once fell in love with a man who was sworn to another. Her delusion of love, even at rejection, lingered. She would lock herself in her room to await her groom to be. She would only leave her room to await her garden, giving her the title of  “Ghost of Amherst”. Dickinson would write poems to her groom, encompassing her transcendental beauty and life in her writing and hide them away, to be found and to keep her immortalized love for him alive. She wrote many poems, but there was one which stood out amongst the rest, a poem named “I Died from Beauty”. She would write from the grave, transcending death, while another did the same. The mysterious figure would ask “Why have you failed?’, where she would reply “For beauty”. He would say “and I for the Truth”. Only the divine would have the authority to ask and judge one from the grave. She was speaking to Christ, who was laid in the tomb moreover. She would compare herself to Christ on the cross, she believed that her cross that she would bare would be of the same magnitude. Christ would call her as his “Brethren”, a term saved exclusively for men. She has gone beyond what she was capable of and became as important as Christ himself, living in heaven with him. In this poem, she uses an unusual rhyme scheme and punctuations that further prove this. She is a beloved poet by many, even to this day.    These three poets have truly lived, not in the sense of breathing and walking, but in finding beauty and life in the world unbenounced by all at the time. They have transcended societal normality and have found a form of expression and humility. These transcendentalists have inspired many writers of modern day and has formed the world toward a more humble and cultured forest where the minds of many can be free to decide what they would like. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickinson have truly transcended the world into greatness. 

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