Transcendentalism was an idea or movement seen throughout authors during the mid 18th century. There were 4 basic ideas of Transcendentalism and they were individualism, optimism, intuition, and idealism. The ideas of individualism can be seen in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Nature when he says," To go into solitude, a man must retire as much from his society as from society"( Field ,180). This explains that in order to find your true self a man must leave both society and his materialistic possessions. The transcendental idea of optimism is found in the quote“I wanted to live deep and suck all of the marrow out of life” (Field, 204). Henry Thoreau is taking an optimistic approach to life by stating he is going to live life to the fullest, he is also talking about breaking limits that have been placed on him by society. Ralph Waldo Emerson states," I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all"( Field, 181). This quote demonstrates intuition because it is considered to be your sixth sense and he is able to channel this.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American author who was born in 1803 and died in 1882. Throughout his works, there were four main underlying ideas that were individualism, optimism, self-reliance and intuition. The ideas of individualism are seen in Nature with the quote," To go into solitude, a man must retire as much from his society as from society"( Field ,180). Entering the solitude is how Emerson believes that a person can experience individualism. If you enter solitude this gives you time to reflect and think about yourself and personal beliefs. Emerson is successfully able to demonstrate the ideas of optimism in his writings by describing the stars,“How great they are! . . . every night come out there envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their astonishing smile” (Field, 180). This demonstrates optimism because of Emerson's enthusiastic approach to them. Enthusiasm is positive energy that helps to see the positive side of things which is what optimism is centered around. Intuition is being able to make decisions based off of ones instincts or conscience. " Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of everyone of its members"(Field,184). Emerson takes the approach of saying the consequences of not being self reliant. He states that if you are essentially apart of society loosing manhood will be a consequence. Intuition is being able to make decisions based on ones conscience or instinct.“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages"(Field, 183). This explains that people should use their internal thoughts and instincts rather than the more obvious actions of society.