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Henry David Thoreau and Individualism Although Romanticism varied from one group or individual to another certain characteristics were common to most aspects of the movement Some of these common characteristics were individualism rejection of rules of art forms emotional expression imagination rather than reason and expression of the sublime or peaceful aspects of nature Additional commonalities were some of the things Romanticists opposed such as empiricism mechanization mathematical thinking dehumanization and increased materialism Individualism is a belief in the importance of the individual and the virtues of self-reliance and personal independence Moreover this concept of individualism can be viewed in relation to the State or social group Henry David Thoreau in both Walden and Civil Disobedience espouses individualism Self-reliance and personal independence are hallmarks which are predominant in Walden Thoreau went to the woods to get to the most basic facts of life and to appreciate and enjoy everything about these most basic facts Thoreau viewed the woods in particular and nature in general as a teacher of life and living Thoreau believed that the simpler his life became the greater his opportunity to appreciate life Thoreau did not want to allow society to determine that which he knew as life He believed that living was to experience first hand and to formulate his own understanding of life Thoreau Walden 303304 To live an existence based on the common experience of others would be as to neglect ones own experience Individualism and an appreciation for nature and solitude do not necessarily mean living as a hermit Thoreau believed that in order to truly appreciate life to understand and experience life as ones own life it is necessary to quiet the mind of all the surrounding trappings of society For instance Thoreau proposes that all news is nothing more than gossip and editors and readers of newspapers are nothing more than gossiping old women chatting over tea Thoreau Walden 305 The point is that the daily
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