What is Transcendentalism?
 How is it different than Romanticism?
In March, 1845, Thoreau decided to build
a cabin by Walden Pond, near Concord,
 This his “personal experiment”
 His goal was to discover what he could
about human nature
Knowing what we do about
Transcendentalism, why would being
alone in the woods help Thoreau
discover more about human nature?
› Think about the relationship he’s trying to
build and with whom
› Think about how the transcendentalists view
society and civilization as opposed to the
Spends his days paying attention to the
flora and fauna of the woods
 Cut off from society indefinitely
 Ends up being arrested for a night for not
paying a tax
› He also thinks government should be as
hands-off as possible
Why would the transcendentalists be
against a controlling government?
› Think about how they view society versus
Thoreau goes to the cabin in March 1845
and leaves in September 1847
 Much of his writing is about nature later
in his writings
› Earlier, he’s getting settled in
› Later, he can pay attention to all of the
changes happening in nature from season
to season
Where would you retreat to and what
would you be studying about the world?
 Assuming you’re there in solitude for 2.5
years, what would you be worried about
before starting your study?
 After the 2.5 years, what thoughts would
you have about returning to society?
Walden is one of many ponds Thoreau
mentions in the piece
 However, this is the title of his book
 We know he writes the most about the
thawing of this pond in the window
Why would Thoreau name his writing
after that specific pond?
For each quote, answer the following
› What does this quote mean?
› Do you agree or disagree with this quote?
› Why?