Transcendentalism at a Glance, The comparison between Ralph Waldo Emerson's writings, and a Cat Stevens song.

Essay by hulagan10High School, 11th gradeA+, January 2003

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Transcendentalism beliefs quickly came into trend, but as fast as it became popular transcendentalism faded out of American culture. Ralph Waldo Emerson's writings were the basis of the transcendental beliefs in the United States. He traveled around Europe and heard Samuel Taylor Coleridge speak about his own beliefs; Emerson was enthralled and soon returned to the United States to spread the information that believers embraced. He wrote many essays on transcendentalism, which is the belief of being individual and not conforming to objects of splendor. Cat Stevens was born well after Emerson had died; yet they believe in similar ideas. Emerson's essay, "Self-Reliance" and Stevens's song "100 I Dream" share some of the same ideas of transcendentalism. They both contain the theory that evil is the absence of good, individualistic beliefs and living in the present as key issues.

"Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind."

Ralph Waldo Emerson contends that if a person is evil by nature, then evil is good and good is evil. He also writes, "They do not seem to me such; but if I am the Devil's child, I will live then from the Devil." Basically the Devil, when he thinks of himself, does not infer that he is evil. He sees himself as doing something correct and good. "100 I Dream," by Stevens, displays the idea that evil is always around. He wrote, "The evil that's been done still is carrying on." In some people's minds, their actions appear good to them while others would see those same actions as evil. Also in Stevens's song the line, "Our leaders' bones still beat on our homes," relates to Emerson's writing about, "society is a wave," and shows that people are under the control of an evil society and they...