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Post  stephsquared on Fri May 15, 2009 8:56 am

Hawthorne and Melville's writings differ greatly from the writings of Emerson and Thoreau. Hawthorne's Scarlett Letter was evident of anti-transcendentalit belifes. First off, in the Scarlett Letter Dimmesdale was a great example that represented anti-transcendentalism and Hawthorne's mind. Instead of because optimistic to change for the better, Dimmesdale ironically (as a Puritan minister, a man of God) couldn't rise beyond his sin and lingered on his past until his guilt and his mind eventually killed him. Hawthorne also showed anti-transcendentalst beliefs through the hypocrisy of the PUritans. The whole book was based on the cruelty and hypocrisy of the Puritans and he constantly critized their beliefs and values. This hsows that he doesn't view everything as one, connected together and sharing a whole, universal spirit. The character like Esther and Dimmesdale were considered separate form the rest of the PUritans--only focsued on the nagtivity of the Puritan beliefs and their society. Melville's Moby Dick clearly shows anti-transcendentalist ideals because this story presents Ahab going against nature. Ahab was completely motivated to taking vengeance on the white whale by killing it. This story was based primarily on violence and cruelty towards nature. Human versus nature is an anti-transcendentalist belief bevause if contradicts a fundamental transcendentalist philosophy: Human and nature live in harmony, as one, and hte Universal Being flows through each living thing, connecting everything as apart of a whole. In contrast, Emerson and Thoreau clearly based their sotry on the transcendentalist ideal of humans being in harmony with nature--believes that nature can help us grow spiritually and help up be better connected with the rest of the world. There is no barrier in transcendental beliefs, everything is connected, everything is one. However, in transcendentalist beliefs, as Melville and Hawthorne have shown, invovle negativity, pessimism, and inability to change for the better--optimism.


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Re: anti-transcendentalism

Post  Rose on Fri May 15, 2009 10:15 pm


I hope you don't mind a comment from a newbie.

The thing is they don’t have to change. If we could all change for the better we would all be optimists. It’s not possible. I’m sure they don’t want to change. Someone may want them to change but that would be that person’s problem not theirs.

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