Transcendentalism in modern day society essay

Origins and Character What we now know as transcendentalism first arose among the liberal New England Congregationalists, who departed from orthodox Calvinism in two respects:

Transcendentalism in modern day society essay

The transcendental movement arose in the early nineteenth century. This literary, political, and philosophical movement was, and still continues to be, closely associated with both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

Emerson and Thoreau were both extremely intellectual men of their time and are now the figureheads of transcendentalism.

Transcendentalists, such as Emerson and Thoreau, believed that for one to determine the ultimate reality of God, the universe, and the self, one had to transcend everyday human experiences. Ideas that form the basis of transcendentalism are still continuously being used today in popular culture, such as in films, novels, and even songs.

One instance of a modern text in which the aspects of transcendentalism are incorporated extensively is the film, Dead Poets Society. The film shows that transcending and wanting to make change for the better is in and of itself something positive.

However, it becomes evident during countless scenes in the movie, and most clearly at the end, that rising above the norm leads to neither anything good nor positive.

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Throughout the movie, Dead Poets Society, many key and fundamental elements of transcendentalism are presented in a way which subsequently sheds a new light on the ideas of transcendentalism and its place in modern-day society, or better yet, its lack of place.

Many of the transcendentalist concepts stressed by Emerson and Thoreau are in one way or another integrated into the plot structure of Dead Poets Society.

The central character in this film and the epitome of transcendental values is John Keating. Keating is the new English teacher at Welton Academy, the school in which the entire movie is set.

From the very beginning of the movie, Mr. Keating shows his students the importance of non-conformity, a key element of transcendentalism.


For instance, he has them do an exercise in the courtyard that consists of them marching around and clapping in unison. When asked by Mr.

Nolan, the Headmaster at Welton and also the antagonist of the movie, what Mr. Keating was having his students do, Mr. Nolan on his teaching techniques, Mr.

Transcendentalism in modern day society essay

Keating shares a similar viewpoint as Emerson and Thoreau, for he places an emphasis on the individual, which self-reliance and non-conformity are expected of. Nolan, on the other hand, symbolizes conformity at its finest, for he replies to Mr.

Prepare them for college and the rest will take care of itself. As the Headmaster of an elite preparatory school such as Welton, Mr. With strict faculty, rigorous classes, and tight control over his student body, he has thus far been successful in doing so, and therefore he sees no need for change or defiance.

Within the classroom, Mr. Keating comes up with many ways to incorporate transcendental values into his lesson plans. He, without a doubt, can be seen as a modern-day representation of Emerson and Thoreau.

The general idea of this quote is that we connect to the God within us as a means of transcending. This quote relates to the movie most closely during the scene in which Mr.

Keating stands on top of his desk and asks the class why they believe he is doing so. Keating is showing how it takes one to rise above, or transcend, to find the true reality of life and see life in a new light.

However, in the movie, the boys use their interpretation of the quote as a sort of an excuse. For example, Charles uses the quote as an excuse for him smart-mouthing the Headmaster, Mr.

Keating indicates to the boys that living by transcendental values may have consequences if not used in the correct circumstances, or used as an excuse for stupidity. The film most definitely portrays transcendental values as a negative force.

However, in the movie, doing so is presented in a negative light due to the effects that result from it.

Transcendentalism in modern day society essay

For instance, the death of Neil Perry and the subsequent firing of Mr. After his father finds out and explicitly demands Neil to quit the play, Neil agrees to quit, yet goes ahead with participating in the play anyways, believing that he could get away with it since his father will be out of town for a few days.

After being chastised by his father and realizing that nothing he thought mattered, Neil commits suicide. Neil feels trapped by his father and feels that he is not living a life he chooses to live. Thus, transcending in this particular situation led to a negative outcome. Thus, another bad effect occurs in the movie once again as a result of these transcendental values and its use in modern-day society.Transcendentalism was the first truly American philosophical movement and this nice (and cheap) edition collects some of the more canonical pieces of Transcendentalism's two greatest expounders, Emerson and Thoreau.

Romanticism and Transcendentalism in Dead Poets Society essaysThe ideas behind romanticism and transcendentalism are those that state everyone is their own person. Transcendentalists believe that human emotion and freedom plays . The ideals of transcendentalism revolutionized the way people considered the world and they flourish to this day, as the ideas of nonconformity and .

Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the late s and s in the eastern United States. It arose as a reaction to protest against the general state of intellectualism and spirituality at the time.

The doctrine of the Unitarian church as taught at Harvard Divinity School was of particular interest.. Transcendentalism emerged from "English and German Romanticism. Miley Cyrus doesn't conform to society's standards because she doesn't care what people think of her, she continues being her self Modern Examples of transcendentalism Be one with god, not the church M o r a l V a lu e s Nature is Sacred I.

Before the s, traditional American society encouraged young women to find happiness and fulfillment through marriage and homemaking. Television shows like "The Donna Reed Show" presented an image of domestic bliss in a pleasant suburban setting.

Essay Examples | Ms. Walsh's Honors Junior English Class: Block A